Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Danny Gatton: "I was tired of playing in beer joints. I wanted to do something tangible like building cars. But once you do music it gets into your blood. You can get away from it for awhile but sooner or later it comes back to you." - (Down Beat April 1991).

Tal Farlow: "There were times when I would stop [playing guitar] and do sign painting." - (Downbeat December 5, 1963)

Archives

Today Wednesday August 23

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
-----
Evening.
New Orleans Jazz at the Village Hall - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.
-----
Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Billy's Acoustic Blues - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free (weekly).
-----
To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Book Review: Billie Holiday - The Musician and the Myth

My first reaction was, do we really need another book on Billie Holiday any more than we need another book on Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington. Uncle Satchmo and all…? The answer, I said, emphatically, was no.
And then I read Billie Holiday – The Musician and the Myth.
This was different from the other biographies, well it’s not really a bio, it’s more an honest assessment of the myth’s that have surrounded her.
It also puts her music in perspective.
A major step forward is the author’s repudiation of the suggestion that Billie’s autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, written in conjunction with Bill Dufty, is more fiction than fact. Szwed answers much of the criticism and substantiates it with passages from the book that the publishers chose not to include for reasons that were, to say the least, not always musical.
It’s a fascinating read and, although the aim is to concentrate on the music, not surprisingly, some of the other side of her life; the drugs; the husbands; the girl friends; the seamier side are referred to but not sensationalised.
There are many musical references, her early influences, working with Shaw and Basie, Lester Young, Teddy Wilson. The songs, Gloomy Sunday, My Man and, of course, Strange Fruit are studied whilst also pointing out that Billie could swing in her own unique style. But, the one thing I longed for was an, at length, observation of Billie and Ella. I wanted to hear Szward’s thoughts and observations on the two most iconic jazz divas on the twentieth century.
That, notwithstanding, this is as good an insight into Lady Day as you are ever going to get (apart from Lady Sings the Blues - with the previously unpublished material included here.)
It’s not just highly recommended, it’s essential reading for anyone who ever played a Holiday CD/album/78, and then played it again and again and again…
Lance.
Billie Holiday - The Musician and the Myth available from Windmill Books on March 10, 2016.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

Subscribe!