Almost 45 years have passed since the death of 'Lady Day'. About 50 years ago she could be seen and heard in just a few rare concerts outside the USA. Alcohol, drugs, affairs and racial discrimination in the USA had all left their mark on her and only her voice served as a reminder of her great successes.
It is thanks to Norman Granz that Billie Holiday signed a new, lucrative contract in the early Fifties. He drew the very best musicians into the studio and paid for excellent arrangers so that Billie had an opportunity to sing her old songs once again and record them for posterity in the very best sound quality.
Entitled Recital, this disc compiles numbers from 1952 and 1954 which were recorded with various accompanists. The musicians themselves kept a low profile out of respect for Billie Holiday; even Oscar Peterson shows himself to be a sensitive accompanist, while Paul Quinichette demonstrates that he is a very capable replacement for Lester Young. In this repertoire taken from musical and songbooks from 1921 to 1935, 'Lady Day' manages to convey her personality and life story - even in the softest of songs! Those with quick tempi, too, such as "What A Little Moonlight Can Do" - one of the outstanding numbers here - shine out with a personal touch. It is not only young talented singers who should listen to these masterpieces at least a dozen times per week - these gems will delight the passive music lover too.