“Songs By Billie Holiday“ – and everyone knows that they will hear sleek improvisations sung by a brittle, labile, erratic voice. Not for a single second, no matter which number, or recording date, can you forget the fate of Lady Day. Probably no one else ever revealed their innermost feelings and whole life as Billie Holiday did in her songs.
At the beginning of the Fifties, Norman Granz sent his JATP concerts with Oscar Peterson, his rhythm group and the soloists Charlie Shavers and Flip Philips around the world. But the real star was the lady with the gardenia in her hair, who battled her way through such evergreens such as "East Of The Sun" and "Tenderly", and who was always on the verge of a vocal and physical breakdown. Those jazz fans who attended her European concerts in 1954 and 1956 were eye- and ear witnesses of the deterioration of a great personality and her unique voice. Today we must rely on recordings, LPs at best, if we want to comprehend this artist’s greatness.