Billie Holiday – Same (Last Recording) (1959)

FrontCover1Last Recording, originally titled Billie Holiday before her death, is the last album of Billie Holiday released in 1959, five years after the original album titled Billie Holiday was released.

After the success of her album, Lady in Satin (1958), Billie Holiday wanted to record another album with arranger Ray Ellis. Ellis had switched from Columbia to MGM, so Billie switched labels also to avoid breaching her contract with Columbia. When she returned to the studio in March 1959, jazz critic and friend of Holiday’s Leonard Feather, said Holiday “walked into the studio statuesque and sharp as ever.”

Unlike Lady in Satin, Billie Holiday had a lighter string orchestra, minus the choir, and more horns, including a saxophone and a more jazz like feeling. It also demand less fanfare. Songs like “All of You”, “‘Deed I Do”, and “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” have a lighter and happier tempo and do not include strings.

Holiday told Ellis she wanted to “sound like Sinatra” on this album; but she was in such poor health from years of difficulty and substance abuse that a nurse sometimes had to help keep her propped up on a high stool as she sang.

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During the time of recording Billie Holiday, Holiday’s health was taking its toll. Some say that she did not look like herself at all, and looked like a ghost of what she once was.

In the song “There’ll Be Some Changes Made”, Holiday replaces the name Jack Benny in the lyric “Even Jack Benny has been changin’ his jokes” to Frank Sinatra, her jazz friend.

The album was completed on March 11, 1959. Four days later, Billie Holiday’s lifelong friend and music partner Lester Young died on March 15, 1959. She would die four months later on July 17, 1959 at the age of 44.

Allmusic music critic Ron Wynn gave the album one and half stars out of five stating, “In many ways, a sad event… It’s poignant in a tragic way.”

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By 1959, use of hard drugs and alcohol had taken their toll on Holiday’s voice. It is evident that her voice had deteriorated since her previous album Lady in Satin. Producer and arranger Ray Ellis said that the producers “accidentally” adjusted the speed at 1/4 pitch faster in the studio making Holiday’s voice high pitched in some songs like “You Took Advantage of Me”. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Billie Holiday (vocals)
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Ray Ellis & His Orchestra:
Danny Bank (Saxophone)
Billy Byers (trombone)
Al Cohn (saxophone)
Harry Edison (trumpet)
Joe Wilder (trumpet)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Milt Hinton (bass)
Osie Johnson (drums)
Hank Jones (piano)
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unknown string section

Arranged and conducted by Ray Ellis

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Tracklist:
01. All Of You (Porter) 2.30
02. Sometimes I’m Happy Caesar/Gray/Youmans) 2.46
03. You Took Advantage Of Me (Rodgers/Hart) 2.46
04. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South (L.René/O.René/Muse) 4.04
05. There’ll Be Some Changes Made” – (W. Benton Overstreet, Billy Higgins) – 2:52
06. ‘Deed I Do – (Walter Hirsch, Fred Rose) – 2:14
07. Don’t Worry ’bout Me (Koehler/Bloom) 3.08
08. All The Way (Cahn/van Heusen) .22
09. Just One More Chance (Coslow/Johnston) 3.43
10. It’s Not For Me To Say (Stillman/Allen) 2.25
11. I’ll Never Smile Again (Lowe) 3.23
12. Baby Won’t You Please Come Home (Warfield/Williams) 3.03

 

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Taken from the original liner notes

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Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959)

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Various Artists – Silent Night, Jazzy Night (2001)

FrontCover1It´s christmas time again … and I will start with some special recordings, christmas records, of course !

And I have a dream for this christmas, a very old dream, the dream of Martin Luther King:

“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

MartinLutherKingI have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!”

And this ist not an american dream only … I wish all readers of this blog a peaceful December 2013.

And listen carefully to some great Jazz interpretations of all these old christmas songs !

BookletBackCover1Tracklist:
01. Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Jingle Bells (alternate version) (1962) (Traditional) 3.19
02. Leon Parker: In A Sentimental Mood (1996) (Ellington) 4.39
03. Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) (1986) (Trome/Wells) 3.11
04. Johnnie Ray: As Time Goes By (1954) (Hupfeld) 3.14
05. Mahalia Jackson: Silent Night, Holy Night (1962) (Gruber/Mohr) 5.04
06. Miles Davis & Gil Evans: Blue Xmas (master) (Dorough) 2.40
07. Glenn Miller Orchestra: Moonlight Serenade (1960) (Miller/Parish) 3.39
08. Billie Holiday: God Bless The Child (1941) (Holiday/Herzog) 2.56
09. Grover Washington Jr:. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1997) (Martin/Blane) 4.53
10. Chet Baker: I Married An Angel (1954) (Hart/Rodgers) 3.39
11. The Manhattan Transfer: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town/ Santa Man (1991)(Gillespie/Coots/Paul) 3.01
12. Aretha Franklin: Winter Wonderland (1964) (Smith/Bernard) 2.12
13. Mel Tormé: Strangers In The Night (1966) (Kaempfert/Snyder/Singleton) 2.41

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