Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Frank Sinatra: "Who is the worst living American? Jake LaMotta. He dumped the fight against Billy Fox, and never told his father, who bet his life savings on Jake. Lower than whale shit." - (John Brady: Frank & Ava In Love and War - Thomas Dunne Books 2015). A 1970 quote from a Pete Hamill interview.

Dave Rempis:Ten years from now, I can see musicians streaming concerts in real time and charging a minimal amount for people to watch.” - (DownBeat September 2013)

Archive.

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

Postage

11,644 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 779 of them this year alone and, so far, 43 this month (July 11).

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

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 :

Blog Archive