The album of the month for April 2015 is Tony Bennett on Holiday.
Tony Bennett on Holiday was released by Columbia Records on February 4, 1997. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Tony Bennett on Holiday was produced by Tony Bennett and Danny Bennett, his son. The cover art features Bennett’s portrait of Billie Holiday.
2015 marks the centennial year of the birth of Billie Holiday. She was born on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; her birth certificate lists her name as Eleanora Fagan. Her mother, Sadie Fagan, was nineteen years old when Eleanora was born. Her father was Clarence Holiday, who still a high school student when Sadie became pregnant. Clarence was a well-known rhythm guitarist and banjo player who played with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and other bands during the late 1920s and 1930s.
Much has been written about the tragic life of Billie Holiday. However, we will be focusing on her astounding talent as a jazz vocalist.
Last year, a visitor to The Interactive Tony Bennett Discography left the following comment, which I have been thinking about ever since:
I was surprised to discover that Tony Bennett’s tribute to Lady Day rang truer than all of the other attempts to politicize her, racialize her, or use her as a self-promotional “career stepping stone.” Tony captures the Lady of the Gardenias that struck Sinatra to the core when he first heard her in the late ’30s, causing him to list her as chief among all his inspirations and influences.
I’ll be doing something a bit different with this album. In addition to featuring Bennett’s songs on the album, I’ll also be including Billie Holiday’s version as well so that we can examine how true Tony Bennett’s tribute is.