Billie Holiday

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Holiday, Billie,

1915–59, American singer, b. Baltimore. Her original name was Eleanora Fagan. She began singing professionally in 1930, and after performing with numerous bands—especially those of Benny GoodmanGoodman, Benny
(Benjamin David Goodman), 1909–86, American clarinetist, composer, and band leader, b. Chicago. Goodman studied clarinet at Hull House. In Chicago he had the opportunity to hear (and eventually to play beside) some of the outstanding jazz musicians of the
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, Teddy Wilson, Count BasieBasie, Count
(William Basie) , 1904–84, American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer, b. Red Bank, N.J. After working in dance halls and vaudeville in New York City, Basie moved to Kansas City, a major jazz center.
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, and Artie ShawShaw, Artie,
1910–2004, American clarinetist and bandleader, b. New York City as Arthur Jacob Arshawsky. He began playing professionally as a teenager, becoming a studio musician in New York after 1929.
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—she embarked in 1940 on a career of solo appearances in nightclubs and theaters. Her highly personal approach to a song, her individual phrasing and intonation, and the often rough but highly emotional quality of her voice soon earned her a supreme position among modern jazz singers. Although she was financially successful, she suffered many personal disasters, complicated by the drug addiction that she could not overcome and that eventually destroyed her career and hastened her death. She was also known as Lady Day.

Bibliography

See her sometimes factually inaccurate autobiography (1956); biographies by D. Clarke (1994) and S. Nicholson (1995), critical biography by J. Szwed (2015); D. Margolick, Strange Fruit (2000).

Holiday, (Eleanora) Billie “Lady Day”

(1915–59) jazz musician; born in Baltimore, Md. She is the most widely celebrated and influential singer in jazz history, but also one of its most tragic figures, her career hampered by drug addiction, prison sentences, and racial injustice. Between 1933–42, she made a brilliant series of small group recordings featuring Teddy Wilson and Lester Young and appeared with the big bands of Count Basie and Artie Shaw. Her 1939 recording of "Strange Fruit," which depicted a lynching, was a cause célèbre. She appeared in several films, including New Orleans (1946), but by the end of the 1940s her voice had begun to deteriorate, taking on a fragile huskiness that initially added to her emotional appeal. She continued to record and appear as a nightclub performer until 1959. Her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, was published in 1956 and was the basis for a 1973 film biography.
References in periodicals archive ?
Manne enjoyed jazz artists Louie Armstrong and Billie Holliday, the arts, watching baseball, and spending time with his family.
Dozens of clubs hosted the era's major musical talents, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holliday.
Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Billie Holliday.
The song ``Gloomy Sunday,'' a dead-lover lament popularized on this side of the Atlantic by Billie Holliday and Artie Shaw (and, more recently, by the likes of Elvis Costello and Bjork), was written in 1935 by Hungary's Rezso Seress and Laszlo Javor.
TALLULAH: Kathleen Turner does a star turn impersonating the legendary actress who once boasted of bedding 5,000 lovers, including Garbo, Billie Holliday, and Joan Crawford.
John Butler's Portrait of Billie (1960) detailed the troubled life of the talented singer Billie Holliday.
Using stock footage in fresh contexts, sound snatches from Leonard Cohen and Billie Holliday and testimonials about life with the HIV-virus (including one by Hoolboom himself which exposes the hypocrisies of response to this affliction), Letters From Home is an impassioned investigation of the politics of disease.
It was a thrill to be able to see classic performers like Billie Holliday around the clubs in Los Angeles, or the new people like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.
The IODA catalogue ranges from established classics to modern up-and-comers in all genres, including favorites such as Animal Collective, Fall Out Boy, MF Doom, London Symphony Orchestra, Sara Tavares, Aventura, Bebel Gilberto, Kottonmouth Kings, Willie Nelson, Billie Holliday, They Might Be Giants, Tina Dico, The Wrens, Black Uhuru, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Fela Kuti, Master P, Seu Jorge, Pink Martini, Ray Charles, Mariza, and R L Burnside.
2) At left is Peterson's portrait of Billie Holliday.
Accompanied by the Bayside Jazz Quartet the singers will pay tribute to three of the great jazz ladies of the 20th Century - Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Sarah Vaughan.
They were homely but philosophical examinations of ordinary people and stars such as Martin Luther King, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Buster Keaton, Marlon Brando and Bob Dylan.