1955 sessions


Session #72 New York 14/February/1955 Billie Holiday with Tony Scott & his Orchestra (CD: The Complete BH on Verve vol.3 tk 12-18)
Charlie Shavers (tp) Tony Scott (cl) Budd Johnson (ts) Billy Taylor (p) Leonard Gaskin (b) Billy Bauer (g) Cozy Cole (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Three standards by Berlin and the resume of the bridges are the highlights of this session, all included in the Verve LP Stay With Me. Billie’s voice improved from the last LA session and Shavers is back, as one can notice in the solo at the second track. Tony Scott’s clarinet wonderful solos are everywhere. The production is by Leroy Lovett. Carl Drinkard, before discussing with Billie, plays in some of the tracks.

(MT 252) I Wished On The Moon ***  Billie recorded this beauty 20 years ago (seeMT  #3). She opens backed by the piano and the rhythm section comes in with the lyrics. Shavers takes the bridge with the open instrument and Bauer, then Taylor, complete this long bridge. The second chorus resumes the first. Altogether, 6’48″ of pure delight. She would record this song for the third time in 1957, see #285.

(MT 256) Ain’t Misbehavin’ – a classic composition from 1929 by Fats Waller & Andy Razaf. The tempo turns to a swung one. The opening and the coda are somewhat over, as well the Shaver’s solo with his open trumpet.

(MT 254) Everything Happens To Me **1/2  a composition by Matt Denis (1941) , lyrics by Tom Adair. Billie opens with Scott’s obbligati in a very slow tempo. In the bridge, the highlights are Taylor and Scott and Shaver does well in mute.

The image below is from the original Verve LP Stay With Me. Click here to listen.

(MT 250) Say It Isn’t So ** a beautiful song by Irving Berlin. The track has two different tempi, beginning slow and then, commanded by Cozy Cole, to a faster tempo, returning to the initial at the coda.

(MT 251) I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm ** a second jewel by Berlin. In the first chorus, the obbligati by Shavers, Johnson and Scott roll in sequence. Shavers then solos followed by Scott. All with a lot of jazziest swing.

(MT 253) Always ** Berlin’s third song in the session. After a noisy opening, Billie comes in backed by Shaver’s obbligati. The bridge is shared by Scott and Johnson.

(MT 255) Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me *** a classic song by Ellington, in a slow tempo, it’s Billie’s first recording. She would remake it the following year, in a still superior performance (see MT #281).

The image below is from the original Verve LP Stay With Me. Click here to listen.



Session #73 Los Angeles 23/August/1955
Session #74 Los Angeles 25/August/1955
Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: The Complete on Verve vol.5 tk 2,5,6,10,11,13,14,16,17,18,19,27,28,29 and vol.6 tk 1,2,3)
Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison (tp) Benny Carter (as) Jimmy Rowles (p) Barney Kessel (g) John Simmons (b) Larry Bunker (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Billie is back in LA for this Verve two-session, and this time Norman Granz puts together a first quality and uniform band. The tempi are, in my opinion, a bit too slow in almost all the tracks and Billie sounds sad and tired. Two Long Playings were issued containing the 16 songs: Music for Torching and Velvet Mood. However, the songs they choose for each LP side do not match the index sequence in my site that follows the Verve CD order. To make it easier for you to find them, I rearranged the sequence to match the LPs.

(MT 263) It Had To Be You *** a pleasant melody, a classic by Isham Jones, lyrics by Gus Kahn. Carter shines in the accompaniment.

(MT 265) Come Rain Or Come Shine ***1/2 a marvelous classic by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, one of my favorites. Carter, Edison and Rowles alternate in the obbligati and there’s no bridge. That’s the only Billie’s recording of the song.

(MT 257) I Don’t Want To Cry Any More **1/2

(MT 259) I Don’t Stand a Ghost Of a Chance **

The image below is from the original Verve LP Music forTorching. Click here to listen.

Full band

(MT 268) A Fine Romance ** a remake of the1936’s (see MT #26) version of this standard by Jerome Kern. The obbligati are by Kessel and it is worth to hear the Rowles’s solo.
(MT 268a) A Fine Romance (alternate take)

No (t) & (as)

(MT 261) Gone With The Wind – Allie Rubel composed this nice song that don’t deserve this funereal tempo.

Full band

(MT 270) I Get A Kick Out Of You * the ‘tea-dance’ arrangements for the opening and coda do not add much to this Porter’s classic. However, in the bridge Carter and Rowles shine, changing the tempo.

(MT 272) Isn’t It A Lovely Day? *** Sweets Edison opens without mute this gem by Berlin. Benny Carter assumes the bridge’s solo. Beautiful, although the tempi are excessively slow.

The image below is from the original Verve LP Music forTorching. Click here to listen.

(MT 258) Prelude To A Kiss **1/2 Ellington’s composition

(MT 260) When Your Lover Has Gone *** unique jewel by E.A. Swan.

(MT 262) Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone ** a swung track breaks the slow tempi. Sweets does the obbligati in the initial chorus. Carter opens the bridge, Kessel continues and Sweets masters the sequence. In the rhythm section, Simmons is the highlight.

(MT 264) Nice Work If You Can Get It ** the second swung track in this session, with Carter’s obbligati. The solos worth it: Jimmy Rowles opens and Edison completes. In the final chorus, Billie’s voice fails a lot.

The image below is from the original Verve LP Velvet Mood. Click here to listen.

No (as)

(MT 266) I Got A Right To Sing The Blues *** another Harold Arlen’s jewel, this time with Ted Koehler. Edison uses no mute in the obbligati and the solo is by Barney Kessel. Billie had already recorded this song in 1939 (see MT #120).

No (t)

(MT 267) What’s New? ** an standard by Bob Haggart. In spite of the slow tempo, Carter performs a nice solo.

No (t) & (as)

(MT 269) I Hadn’t Anyone Till You ** this classic by Ray Noble could have a faster tempo. There’s no bridge. This would be the sole recording by Billie.

(MT 271) Everything I Have Is Yours *** Billie had already recorded this beautiful song by Burton Lane in 52 (see MT #227) with similar good result.

The image below is from the original Verve LP Velvet Mood. Click here to listen.



Live Session #43 [TV Broadcast] New York, 8/February/1955 Skitch Henderson House Band (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.7 & Broadcast Performances vol.2)
Carl Drinkard (p), Billie Holiday (v) Others Unknown

Broadcast by NBC at the Steve Allen Tonite Show (aired from 1954 to 1957).

(LR 141) My Man *
(LR 142) Them There Eyes 
(LR 143) Lover Man

Original LP ESP – 3003 A Radio & TV Broadcasts (US 1972). Sound not available.

Live Session #44 [live recording] New York, 6/May/1955 (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.7 & Broadcast Performances vol.2)
Count Basie (org), Lester Young (ts), Buck Clayton (tp), Bobby Tucker (p), Eddie Jones (b), Buddy Rich (d), Billie Holiday (v)

Recorded by Norman Granz at the Carnegie Hall on Lighthouse Jazz & Variety Concert.

(LR 144) Stormy Weather

Original LP ESP – 3003 B (side B disc has a printed image instead of conventional list of songs) Radio & TV Broadcasts (US 1972). Sound not available.

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