All of Me (2019)

Gershwin, Rainger, Camarata, Ahlert, Bloom, Ellington

Billie Holiday

This historic album was transferred from the original 78 rpm transcription master. It is a historic and collectible transfer.
Please note that the album is presented in the audio recording technology standards available at the time.

All of Me by Billie Holiday features 10 standards performed by the famed Jazz Singer. Holiday is backed on the album by Jazz pianist Teddy Wilson; Red Norvo and His Orchestra including Neal Hefti on trumpet and Jimmy Rowles on piano; the All-Star Jam Band with Roy Eldridge (piano), Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone), Jack Teagarden (trombone), Art Tatum - Pablo Records (piano), Albert Casey (guitar), Oscar Pettiford (bass) and Sidney Catlett (drums); and Percy Faith and His Orchestra.

For most of her life Billie Holiday; the First Lady of Jazz, offered the world the sound of a voice, the like which it will never hear again. Billie Holiday, whose inspiration was more instrumental than vocal, used to say that her aim was to get Bessie Smith’s feeling and Louis Armstrong’s style. She had her whole being in singing and left behind her a legacy of superb vocal jazz recordings. The compelling tracks on this historic album were transferred from the original 78 rpm transcription master.

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Billie Holiday

Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was 18, she was 16, and I was three. That’s the opening sentence of Billie Holiday’s autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, and it leads into one of the best-known and most distressingly poignant stories in jazz history.

A poverty stricken upbringing, a victim of attempted rape before she was 12, hooked on narcotics in her early teens, a $2 prostitute in Harlem at 15…it was not exactly and auspicious beginning for someone who was destined to become the First Lady of jazz. She struggled against drug addiction all her life and when she died, in Harlem’s Metropolitan Hospital on July 17th, 1959, she was under police guard as an addict. She was destroyed by heroin and alcohol. She was born poor and she died poor. Her bank pass book showed a balance of 70 cents. Eleanor Gough McKay Holiday was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 7th, 1915, the daughter of Sadie Fagan and Clarence Holiday, who was later to take the guitar chair in the Fletcher Henderson orchestra. When she was 13 years old, Billie Holiday moved to New York to live with her mother in Harlem.

By the time she was 15 she was singing in Harlem clubs and was eventually discovered by the celebrated jazz producer John Hammond, when he dropped into Monette Moore’s on 133rd Street one night in 1933. “I decided that night that she was the best jazz singer I had ever heard.” He recalls. In November of that year Billie made her recording debut with Benny Goodman’s band. There followed a date with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and then, in July 1935, the first of a series of recordings with Teddy Wilson’s Orchestra that were really to establish her reputation as an incomparably gifted interpreter of the popular songs of the day. She also recorded with Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Eddie Heywood, Sy Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton and her own orchestra over the next 15 years. But the most important and compatible of Billie’s musical associates was Lester Young, with whom she had a deep musical and personal understanding. Young features on some of Billie Holiday’s most memorable recordings between 1937 and 1957. Billie holiday made a major European tour in January 1954 as part of a Jazz Club USA package with Buddy de Franco and Red Norvo, playing some 40 concerts in 30 days and winning widespread acclaim. But the heroin addiction and alcoholism were taking their ravaging toll and within a little over five years she was dead – on July 17th, 1959.

“She died of everything” someone wrote. Billie Holiday, whose inspiration was more instrumental than vocal, used to say that her aim was to get Bessie Smith’s feeling and Louis Armstrong’s style. She had her whole being in singing and left behind her a legacy of superb vocal jazz recordings. She invested the sometimes trivial popular songs of her time with soulful sincerity and enhanced their musical validity out of all recognition.

As Martin Williams wrote in The Jazz Tradition, “Her particular musical talent was that she could find emotional and melodic beauty in banality” But tragically, in the words of her earliest champion, John Hammond, she had “neither the wisdom nor the strength to make the most of her opportunities”. 

photo: from booklet 'All of Me' (label 2xHD)

Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Randolph Hawkins (November 21, 1904 – May 19, 1969), nicknamed Hawk and sometimes "Bean", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. Berendt explained: "there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn". While Hawkins is strongly associated with the swing music and big band era, he had a role in the development of bebop in the 1940s.

Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson is universally regarded as one of the supreme keyboard masters of the swing era.  He refined the stride piano tradition established by James P. Johnson and Fats Waller and introduced qualities of elegance, delicacy and finesse that were to earn him wide-spread acclaim and a great number of imitators.  Among the major piano stylists who came under his influence in the thirties were Billy Kyle, Jess Stacy, Joe Bushkin, Hank Jones, Billy Taylor and Mel Powell.

Born Theodore Wilson in Austin, Texas on November 24th, 1912, he studied piano and violin and majored in music theory at Talladega College.  At 17 he started working with local bands in the Detroit area and in 1930 he moved to Toledo to join Milton Seniorís band.

The early thirties found Wilson in Chicago where he gained valuable experience with the bands of Louis Armstrong, Erskine Tate and Jimmie Noone.  Arriving in New York in 1933, he joined Benny Carterís Chocolate Dandies and recorded some sides for John Hammond. Then, after a short spell with Willie Bryantís Band, Wilson teamed up in July 1935 with Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa in the famous Goodman Trio in a group that pioneered racial integrated jazz and became a major force in the swing era.

In the late thirties Wilson, once described by Benny Goodman as ìthe greatest musician in dance music today, did posterity the inestimable favour of recording a large number of sides for Brunswick and Vocalion with the incomparable Billie Holliday and a band of Basie alumni who included Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Freddie Green and Jo Jones.  Those recordings represent the cream of Lady Day's recorded work.

Wilson remained with Goodman until the spring of 1939 and then formed his own excellent but unhappily short-lived band which included Ben Webster, Doc Cheatham, Al Casey and J.C. Heard. The band played such New York venues as the Famous Door on 52nd Street and the Golden Gate Ballroom, but broke up in June 1940.

For the first half of the forties Wilson led various small combos, appearing in and around New York, and he devoted an increasing amount of time to teaching, arranging and broadcasting.

Between 1949 and 1952 he had a staff post with the WNEW radio station in New York. In the sixties, Wilson continued to front small groups, to teach and to work in radio and television; he also made numerous trips to Europe for festival appearances, concert dates and recordings. In 1962 he visited the Soviet Union with his old boss, Benny Goodman. In the seventies he made a number of trips to Japan where he was received with great enthusiasm and was much in demand for record dates. 

Leonard Feather has described Teddy Wilson as succeeding Earl Hines in being the most imitated pianist in jazz. Joachim Berendt has assessed Wilsonís small combo recordings as ìsome of the best and most representative of the swing era.

(-- Mike Hennessey)


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All of Me (2019)

Gershwin, Rainger, Camarata, Ahlert, Bloom, Ellington

Billie Holiday

Digital Converters: Merging Technologies Horus
Executive Producer: André Perry
Mastering Engineer: René LaFlamme, Original 78rpm Acetate Transcription (Analog) to DSD Transfer
Recording location: Esquire All-American Jazz Concert at the Metropolitan Opera House, 1944, New York, 1947, Hollywood, 1949, Los Angeles 1949
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Original 78rpm Acetate Transcription (Analog)

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2XHDST1131: All of Me
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You Better Go Now
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Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)
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Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me
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I'll Get By (as Long as I Have You)
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I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone
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Miss Brown to You
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You Ain't Gonna Bother Me No More
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Maybe You'll Be There
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Good Morning Heartache
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The Man I Love
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