Today marks the centennial of the birth of America’s greatest jazz singer: Billie Holiday.
Much has been said about the life of Billie Holiday. A life that was much too short and full of pain, for sure.
But I wish to think of her because of her amazing music. She is the inspiration of singers the world over. As we speak, there are tribute concerts being held all over the world by the great singers of jazz: male and female.
For those, like me, who care deeply about her music, I would like to recommend a new book by jazz historian John Szwed — Billie Holiday: The Musician And The Myth. In this book, Szwed explores her voice, her singing, her inestimable contributions to vocal jazz. Here a few links to reviews of this book, which is available, of course, from Amazon.
The Wall Street Journal
The New Yorker
The New York Times
Or better yet, just listen. The new Billie Holiday Centennial Collection is available from Amazon, iTunes and even Spotify.
Forget the drugs, the alcoholism, the rumors and the exaggerations. Remember the musician. Remember the voice.