Excerpt from George Avakian’s notes on the album sleeve: When planning this album, I had a hellish time trying to choose what I thought were the absolute cream of Billie Holiday. In the course of this wrestling, it struck me that not only were Billie’s vocals incredibly perfect, but that I could not remember a single instance of anyone playing a bad solo or even a bad phrase among the hundred or more performances I had to choose from in the golden period of her work. Checking over records (which was almost unnecessary, because I could still remember them almost note for note) was a rather beautiful and somewhat shattering experience. Jazz, a product of so many things – musical evolution, the social scene of a particular time, the economic atmosphere of the moment, what somebody had for breakfast that day – and none of those tings will ever come together again as they did when these records were made.
Billie Holiday: Lady Day
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