Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy [Post] B-Day Billie Holiday!

"[April 7th] would have marked the 98th birthday of Elanora Fagan aka Billie Holiday. Perhaps no single Jazz vocalist has had the impact on the genre of Jazz music then she did. From her humble beginnings of singing along to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith records as a child to her untimely death at age 44 and the success and hardships she had in between, there is no question that Holiday was (and still is) one of the most well known Jazz performers." Flea Market Funk

Billie Holiday co-wrote few songs, but those she had a hand in penning are amongst the greats:

"Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday "changed the art of American pop vocals forever."[5] She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably "God Bless the Child", "Don't Explain", "Fine and Mellow", and "Lady Sings the Blues"." Wikipedia

Of the 2 songs I've covered, one was Billie Holiday's 'Don't Explain' on 'Slow to Burn'. Stream it on Soundcloud:

Its terse language and melodic highs and lows communicate its message succinctly & beautifully. Trademarks of a great song......

My acrylic portrait of Billie accompanied 'Don't Explian':
Billie not only sang The Blues, she transformed its message - Her singing of 'Strange Fruit' was a socially transformative and immensely radical act ::::

I count Billie the first amongst my earliest influences. My father had a small but selective collection of Jazz records. What were his Billie Holiday LPs soon became mine. The sound of her voice, her intonations, timbre and phrasings were soon embedded in my heart, soul & mind, and have never left:
"Built on piano, synthesizers and Daou's mesmerizing, Billie Holiday-like vocals, Zipless strikes an exquisite balance between pop and jazz by weaving together the strengths of both styles." TIME
Happy B-Day Billie! Here's to your eternal Spirit & infinite Artistry ......

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