1958 sessions


LADY IN SATIN. Maybe her most controversial record. Lady appreciated Ellis’s work but he himself got surprised when Irving Towsend (then Columbia producer) invited him to make a record with Billie. In that period, Ellis was working with Johnny Mathis and Sarah Vaughan, among others. The session went over for three days and the Columbia CD has some alternate takes as well (see discography).

Session #84 New York 18/February/1958 Ray Ellis and his Orchestra (CD: Lady in Satin)
Mel Davis Billie Butterfield Bernie Glow (tp) Urbie Green (tb) Gene Quill (as) Hank Jones (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v) + strings and Choir

(MT 307) You Don’t Know What Love Is

(MT 308) I’ll Be Around

(MT 309) For Heaven’s Sake

(MT 310) But Beautiful

Session #85 New York 19/February/1958 Ray Ellis and his Orchestra (CD: Lady in Satin)
Mel Davis Billie Butterfield Bernie Glow (tp) Urbie Green (tb) Gene Quill (as) Hank Jones (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v) + strings and choir

(MT 311) For All You Know * a pleasant song by Sam Lewis & J. F. Coots. Billie introduction is very nice, backed by the strings.

(MT 312) It’s Easy To Remember

(MT 313) I’m A Fool To Want You * a song that made its way to become a standard, although with a pop arrangement in this record. To point out the obbligati by Urbie Green in his trombone.
(MT 313a) I’m A Fool To Want You (alternate take #2)
(MT 313b) I’m A Fool To Want You (alternate take #3)


Session #86 New York 20/February/1958 Ray Ellis and his Orchestra (CD: Lady in Satin)
Urbie Green, Tom Mitchell & J. J. Johnson (tb) Ed Powell, Tom Pashley, Romeo Penque, Phil Bodner (sax) Mal Waldron (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Don Lamond (d) Billie Holiday (v) Brad Spinney(xyl) J. Putman (harp) + strings and choir
(MT 314) The End Of A Love Affair (mono)
(MT 314a) The End Of A Love Affair (alternate take – stereo)

(MT 315) Glad To Be Unhappy

(MT 316) You’ve Changed * a song by Bill Carey, made popular in the 40’s by Harry James Orchestra. Notice again the obbligati by Urbie Green. It is generally considered the best track in the CD.

(MT 317) I Get Along Without You Very Well

(MT 318) Violets For Your Furs

The record has a different sequence, but it contains all the songs.

To hear side A, click here.

To hear side B, click here.


Live Session #57A [TV broadcast] Oasis Club, New York, 12/April/1958 – Martha Raye Show (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.9)
Unknown Band, Billie Holiday (v)
  • Martha Raye was a comedian with supporting roles in comic films in the 30s and 40s, nicknamed “The Big Mouth”. Later on TV, she starred her own program, the Martha Raye Show.

(LR 193A) You’ve Changed

Original LP Giants of Jazz GOJ 1001 I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone (US 1975). No sound available.

(LR 193B) My Man

Unissued in vinyl.

Live Session #58 [TV broadcast] Newark, NJ, 29/May/1958
 (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.11)
Mal Waldron (p) Tyre Glenn (vib) Roy Gaines* (g) Vinnie Burke (b) Henry Leon (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Art Ford’s Jazz Party TV Program

(LR 194) You’ve Changed
(LR 195) Billie’s Blues (I Love My Man)
(LR 196) When Your Love Has Gone

Original LP Society SOC 1027 Easy To Remember (US 1966). Sound not available.

(*) Playing guitar in the picture is legendary blues guitarist Roy Gaines. While in New York, Mr. Gaines stayed at the Flanders Hotel on 47th Street where Billie Holiday also lived during this time.

58-05_BH_mal_waldron © Roy Gaines

Live Session #59 [TV broadcast] Newark, NJ, 10/July/1958 (CD:Perfect Complete Collection vol.12 & Broadcast Performances vol.3)
Georgie Auld (ts), Mal Waldron (p) Mary Osborne (g) Vinnie Burke (b) Osie Johnson (d) Jackie Cooper – on track 198 (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Art Ford’s Jazz Party TV Program

(LR 197) Foolin’ Myself
(LR 198) It’s Easy To Remember
(LR 199) What A Little Moonlight Can Do

Original LP ESP 3006 Broadcast Performances 1956-58 (US 1973). Sound not available.

For LR 199, the vídeo can be seen on the DVD “The Ultimate Collection” (see discography)

YOUTUBE: click here to watch

z_mary_osborneMary Osborne (1921-1992) one of the few female musicians, she was a talented jazz guitarist.

In the later 40s she had her own jazz trio, and later she performed by her own in shows and TV bands.


Live Session #60 [TV broadcast] Newark, NJ, 17/July/1958 Art Ford’s Jazz Party TV (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.12 & Broadcast Performances vol.3)
Harry Shepherd (vb) Mal Waldron (p) Mary Osborne (g) Vinnie Burke (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v)

58-07-17_0654 At Art Ford Jazz Party

(LR 200) Don’t Explain
Charlie Shavers & Buck Clayton (t), Georgie Auld (ts), Tyree Glenn (tb), Harry Sheppard (vb), Mal Waldron (p) Mary Osborne (g) Vinnie Burke (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v)
(LR 201) Moanin’ Low
Buck Clayton (t), Georgie Auld (ts), Mal Waldron (p) Mary Osborne (g) Vinnie Burke (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v)
(LR 202) When Your Love Has Gone

Original LP ESP 3006 Broadcast Performances 1956-58 (US 1973). Sound not available.

YOUTUBE: click here to watch

Live Session #61 [live recording] New York, 9/September/1958 Jazz at the Plaza Festival (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.12)
Buck Clayton (t), Mal Waldron (p), Jimmy Woode (b), Sam Woodyard (d), Billie Holiday (v)

58-09-09_0664On that date, a party hosted by Columbia records takes place at the Persian Room of the famous Plaza Hotel in New York. Also in the program, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Jimmy Rushing.

Alfred Duckett reviews the evening in his column in the “New York Age”: (…)You listen – and you hear a magnificent performance. You listen and you listen and you hear – an authentic artist. You listen. Your heart listens – and you know that great art and great artists, you just don’t explain.

(LR 203) When Your Love Has Gone *** an hesitant start from Billie let us imagine that there was a previous song not recorded. Actually, Alfred Duckett, in his review, mention Don’t Explain as her “third song”. Buck Clayton signs the wonderful obbligati, Mal Waldron also shines and the rhythm section guarantee the balance of this wonderful performance [stereo recording]
(LR 204) Don’t Explain *** the first verse – Hush now, don’t explain – gets a compliment from the audience. Billie follows with Waldron’s sole backing and, in the second part, when entering the same verse, she commands the rhythm section bringing in an extra emotional touch [stereo recording]

Original LP Columbia C32471 Jazz At The Plaza (US 1973). Sound not available.

Live Session #62 [live recording] Wallingford, Connecticut 26/September/1958 The Seven Ages of Jazz Festival (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.12, or The Complete on Verve vol.10 and in Jazz At The Philharmonic – the two latter also contain the intro by Leonard Feather)
Buck Clayton (t) Mal Waldron (p) Milt Hinton (b) Don Lamond (d) Billie Holiday (v)

58-09-26_0668Recorded at Oakdale Musical Theatre, both tracks are characteristic in her repertory and the recordings have excellent sound quality.

They were included in the Lp “The Seven Ages Of Jazz”. Producer (and announcer) is Leonard Feather. This is actually the second time Billie performs at this festival; the first one, in 1947, wasn’t recorded.

(LR 205) I Wished On The Moon *** introduced by Leonard Feather, Waldron does a brief intro and Billie enters with Buck Clayton obbligati. There’s no bridge and the audience, probably waiting for it, start applauding in the middle. The rhythm is contagious. A gem.
(LR 206) Lover Man *** what a wonderful recording, Billie seems to be singing in our room. At that time, many people was saying that Billie would sing no more, other that she was not the same. Just listen…

Original LP Metro Jazz 2-E 1009 The Seven Ages of Jazz (US 1958). Sound not available.

Live Session #63 [live recording] Monterey, California 5/October/1958 Monterey Jazz Festival. (CD: Rare Tracks From The BHD, vol.6 (1956-58)
Buddy DeFranco (cl) Benny Carter (as) Gerry Mulligan(bs) Mal Waldron (p) Eddie Khan (b) Dick Berk(d) Billie Holiday (v)

58-10-05_monterey@Monterey Jazz Festival. Here, Billie’s voice and phrasing are really bad. The clear sound out of a  good tape recording don’t give her any excuses for her bad shape. However, she is nice with the audience, as always, and one can here she thanking them: “what can I do for you now? Trav´lin Light?” (see complete transcription in “lyrics” section). After waiting for some the musicians, she starts with the basic trio and, from the fifth track on, the brass section comes in.

Only (p), (b) & (d)
(LR 207) Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do * – the first three tracks are the best ones, as Billie’s voice is a bit better and the trio backs her with competence.
(LR 208) Willow Weep For Me *
(LR 209) When Your Lover Has Gone * we can here an small plane flying by
(LR 210) God Bless The Child
Only (p), (b), (d) &(bs)
(LR 211) I Only Have Eyes For You – in the interval, we can hear Billie talking to Mulligan, that just arrived: “why it took so long for you guys to get in here?”  And his answer; “Buddy and Benny are just coming”. Mulligan fill the track with his powerful obbligati.
Full Band
(LR 212) Good Morning Heartache – the sound of a large airplane can be heard, almost spoiling the recording. The three brasses mess a bit the background.
(LR 213) Them There Eyes – Billie’s voice and phrasing gets worse along the session.
(LR 214) Fine And Mellow
(LR 215) What A Little Moonlight Can Do
(LR 216) Trav’lin’ Light
(LR 217) Lover Come Back To Me

Original LP Black Hawk BKH 50701 S1 At Monterey (US 1988). Click here to listen.

Original LP Black Hawk BKH 50701 S2 At Monterey (US 1988). Click here to listen.


In October, she flew to Europe in her second longest tour. In Italy, her Milan tour was a disaster, very poorly organized. She then went to Paris (see the two sessions below) with a little more success. She did not visit England this time, and was back in January.

Live Session #64 [TV broadcast] Paris, France, 12/November/1958 (CD Perfect Complete Collection vol.12)
Mal Waldron (p) Paul Rovere (b) Kansas Field (d) Billie Holiday (v)

(LR 218) Billie’s Blues (I Love My Man)

Unissued in vinyl.

58-11-12_0696olympiaThis song is usually said to have been recorded at the Olympia Theater. Not more than a curiosity, as the recording is lousy and the pitch is incorrect.





Live Session #65 [TV broadcast] Paris, France, 18/November/1958 (CD: Billie Holiday in Europe 1954-58)
Mal Waldron (p), Michel Gaudry (b), Unknown (d), Billie Holiday (voc)

Music Hall Parade-French Television. Both tracks have a surprisingly good sound quality – you may hear distinctily her finger snapping and her bracelet tinkling the microphone.

(LR 219) I Only Have Eyes For You


(LR 220) Trav’lin’ Light *

Unissued in vinyl.

© 2005-2017 www.billieholidaysongs.com February 2017

17 thoughts on “1958 sessions

    • Dear Steve,
      not sure you noticed just at the top of the page, all sessions refer to the record Lady in Satin, that you can still find in CD or Vinyl

  1. I hate to tell you but a a fair bit of your discographical information is incorrect. The song under #64 is from Nov 11, 1954. That was the first concert in Europe and, as has been stated, Lady had had no sleep and was not in good vocal shape. At least 7 songs are on one of those live CDs and they are easily identified in chrono order based on sound and comments. All of them have that whirring noise here and there. The songs available are:

    Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Willow Weep for Me
    I Only Have Eyes for You
    God Bless the Child
    Please Don’t Talk About Me
    Billie’s Blues
    All of Me

    • Dear Tom,
      Thank you for your note. All of my date references were taken from the records or books in my collection. But, on the other hand, I do not feel uncomfortable to review them if necessary. It wouldn’t be the first time.
      Just to begin, please confirm the date you mention: Nov 11, 1954? She was not in Europe that day, as far as I know.

      • Sorry – typo. The date is 1/11/54. The dates for many concerts can be found listed in the book “Lady Day’s Diary.” And totally not your fault. So much bad or outdated data out there.

    • Tom, I did already all the corrections in Session 49, that were misplaced.
      However, I tend not to agree with Session 64. This is a song unissued but included later by a Danish editor in the CD Jeal Records RJD 508. It is a private recording done by an amateur during the show. I have two other versions in my collection, one of them sent me by a French musician specialized in Billie, particularly in her shows in Paris. It is awfully recorded, in a faster speed.
      Therefore, I would stay with my original information. It is from 1958 tour.

      • I’m sorry but you are very much incorrect. I have the cut and the pitch is totally wrong. Listen to the various noises and when the occur and how she sings. It’s exact. I have the corrected pitch of that take, and it is EXACTLY the same as the one usually dated from January 11. And, the whirring noise happens at EXACTLY the same moments as it does on the slower, corrected pitch version.

        • Sorry to come back to this Billie’s Blues track on session 64.
          I have two versions of it:
          1. from “Perfect Complete Collection” vol.12, track 11 – this version is the one with incorrect pitch 3:06 minutes long.
          2. from “Billie Holiday in Europe” by Michel Fontanes, Kangourou Swing CD 27236. In this version the pitch was adjusted to 3:30 minutes. Michel claims “it is the only existing trace of the Olympia concert. The concert tapes are the property of Daniel Filipacchi who does not wish to release them“.
          Both versions claim it is from November 12, 1958.
          On the other hand you asked me to compare it with the January 11th 1954 recording from Jazz Club concert in Stockholm. Actually, I don’t have such track, nor Lady Day Diary mention any recordings in her first day in Europe. The first record I have from that trip is the Ole Hollander’s interview from January 12th in Stockholm. And the first track I’m aware of is described under session LS 38 in Cologne, Germany in January 24th – by coincidence the same tune.

    • Hello Tom ,

      Are you sure ???
      Billie wasn’t in Paris in November 1954 … she was in Europe ( her 1st European Tour with Leonard Feather’s Jazz Club USA-group ) in January & February 1954 … so it can’t be from November 1954 …
      Sorry , but you info isn’t correct …

    • Hello Tom ,

      I’m sorry , but you’re mixing-up some dates …
      Billie was in Europe in November 1958 , NOT in November 1954 !
      And in 1954 , she was only in Europe during the months January + February …

  2. Hi ,

    Billie DIDN’T RECORD ‘ BILLIE’S BLUES ‘ or anything else in Stockholm-Sweden on January 11th ,
    1954 …
    Sorry guys !

    • And certainly not in November 1954 … since she left already for the States on February 19th 1954 … after finishing her 1st European Tour in London .
      She was not in Europe in November 1954 !

    • To be more specific Paulo :
      On January 11th 1954 , Billie arrived in Copenhagen-Denmark . Her plane HAD to land there , because there was a problem : it had too much snow on it … and the pilot decided to make a stop at the Copenhagen-airport !
      The whole gang then continued to travel BY TRAIN to Sweden-Stockholm !
      That’s why “Billie’s Blues” can NEVER HAVE BEEN RECORDED on January 11th 1954 …
      Also because Billie’s 1st concert in Sweden ( Stockholm) was / took place on February 12th , 1954…
      I hope this info helps ???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *