Billie Holiday (vcl), with Ray Ellis & His Orchestra, featuring J.J. Johnson, Urbie Green (tb), Mal Waldron (p), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Don Lamond (d)
This is the most controversial of all Billie Holiday records. Lady Day herself said that this session (which finds her accompanied by Ray Ellis' string orchestra) was her personal favorite, and many listeners have found her emotional versions of such songs as "I'm a Fool to Want You," "You Don't Know What Love Is," "Glad to Be Unhappy," and particularly "You've Changed" to be quite touching. But Holiday's voice was essentially gone by 1958, and although not yet 43, she could have passed for 73. Ellis' arrangements do not help, veering close to Muzak; most of this record is very difficult to listen to. Late in life, Holiday expressed the pain of life so effectively that her croaking voice had become almost unbearable to hear. There is certainly a wide range of opinion as to the value of this set.
This CD release contains the classic original album Lady in Satin in its entirety. It marks Holiday's last big hit and her second to last album ever. As a bonus, we have included five ballads from a 1955 session with Harry Edison and Benny Carter, the rare 1957 studio version of "Fine and Mellow" with Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, and Holiday's only two performances from the 1958 Jazz at the Plaza concert.
01. I'm a Fool to Want You (3:25)
02. For Heaven's Sake (3:29)
03. You Don´t Know What Love Is (3:51)
04. I Get Along Without You Very Well (l3:01)
05. For All We Know (2:55)
06. Violets For Your Furs (3:26)
07. You've Changed (3:20)
08. It's Easy To Remember (4:03)
09. But Beautiful (4:32)
10. Glad to Be Unhappy (4:09)
11. I´ll Be Around (3:26)
12. The End of a Love Affair (4:48)
13. Prelude to a Kiss (5:35) (*) Bonus Track
14. A Ghost Of A Chance (4:26) (*) Bonus Track
15. Gone with the Wind (3:23) (*) Bonus Track
16. Come Rain or Come Shine (4:22) (*) Bonus Track
17. What's New? (4:16) (*) Bonus Track
18. Fine and Mellow (6:21) (*) Bonus Track
19. When Your Lover Has Gone (2:30) (*) Bonus Track
20. Don´t Explain (2:51) (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 78:17 min.
Tracks #1-12 were originally issued in LP as Columbia CS 8048.
Personnel: Mel Davis (tp), J.J. Johnson, Urbie Green, Jack Green (tb}, Tom Mitchell (btb), Phil Bodner, Romeo Penque, Eddie Powell, Tom Parshley (reeds), Mal Waldron (p), Bradley Spinney, Bobby Rosengarden (xylophone), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Don Lamond (d), Ray Ellis (arr, cond) + String section, choir.
Recorded in New York City, on February 18, 19 & 20, 1958.
The bonus tracks #13-17, taken from the original album "Music for Torching" released as Verve MGV 8026. Personnel: Billie Holiday (vcl), Harry "Sweets" Edison (tp), Benny Carter (as), Jimmy Rowles (p), John Simmons (b) and Larry Bunker (d). Recorded in Los Angeles, on August 23 & 25, 1955.
Track #18 comes from the CBS special TV program "The Sound Of Jazz". Personnel: Billie Holiday (vcl), Doc Cheatham (tp), Vic Dickenson (tb), Lester Young, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins (ts), Mal Waldron (p), Danny Barker (g), Jim Atlas (b) and Jo Jones (d). Recorded in New York City, on December 5, 1957.
Tracks #19-20 taken from the collective live album "Jazz at the Plaza" (Columbia PC 32470). Personnel: Billie Holiday (vcl), Buck Clayton (tp), Mal Waldron (p), unknown bass and drums. Recorded at the Persian Room of the Plaza Hotel, New York, September 9, 1958.