Happy 100th Birthday Billie Holiday!

a-billie-holiday

Billie Holiday.

07.04.191517.07.1959

God Bless The Child

Voice: Billie Holiday

Composition: Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog Jr. c. 1939

________________

Fine and Mellow

Written: Billie Holiday c. 1939

Live TV recording 1957.

Voice: Billie Holiday

Piano: Mal Waldon

Double Bass: Milt Hinton

Guitar: Danny Barker

Tenor Saxophone: BenWebster & Lester Young & Coleman Hawkins

Baritone Saxophone: Gerry Mulligan

Trombone: Vic Dickenson

Trumpet: Doc Cheatham & Roy Eldridge

Drums: Osie Johnson

_______________

Strange Fruit

Written: Abel Meeropol c. 1937

Composition: Billie Holiday c. 1939

Live TV Performance

Voice: Billie Holiday.

_______________

Lover Man, Oh Where Can You Be.

Written: Jimmy Davis & Roger Ramirez & James Sherman c. 1941

Live performance 1958, Oakdale Music Theater, Wallingford, Connecticut.

Voice: Billie Holiday

Piano: Mal Waldron

Bass: Milt Hinton

Trumpet: Buck Clayton

Drums: Don Lamond

_________________

One of my all-time favourite Billie Holiday tunes.  I first fell in love with it whilst working at the Underground Railroad Restaurant on King Street East just west of Sherbourne Street back in the late 1970s – all whilst finding time to run around the city taking ballet class and studying in high school then later at York University – when Salome Bey was doing her Cabaret show and her husband, Howard Matthews was part owner, along with Jazz drummer, Archie Alleyne.  There was an intense and wonderful Jazz education!

Too, there was that memorable Sunday Brunch in late 1982 at the actress, Patricia Neal’s grand Upper West Side apartment which Merlin took on a short-term sublet.  Frederick Jones and his Puerto Rican-born lover were there, along with a couple of dancer friends of mine and, of course, fellow dancer and friend of Merlin’s, Miguel Godreau.

Merlin the night we met, Friday, October 1, 1982, had excused himself from dinner at the Afro-Cuban restaurant, around from my West 49th Street apartment, on 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen.  He had gone to make a phone call – ah yes, there was an age before the cellphone’s ubiquity – and cancelled getting together with Miguel.  They had been dating after Miguel had appeared in Ken Russell’s 1980 film, Altered States starring, William Hurt and who at that time was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Just in case, I had proven an utter bore, Merlin had made alternate plans; however, after I had passed most of dinner to the groovy music massaging his burgeoning lap across the deuce from me with my nimbly dexterous pointed feet, Miguel did not stand a chance.

Besides, one does not exactly say no to one’s task companion when first meeting on the physical plane… again, especially when it was planned.  In any event, after fruit-filled pancakes drowned in Canadian maple syrup, Merlin and I – who by then had had multiple ménage-à-trois with Miguel – blew each other soft kisses whilst he sat admiringly looking at Miguel and me slow dance to this truly haunting tune.

Merlin almost never danced; however, our pas de deux between the sheets has left Merlin an unsurpassed lover of magical skills.

Happy Birthday Billie Holiday and, wherever you are, may your current incarnation be a most blessed lucid dream.  You know, I really ought to do her overleaves…

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.

Big Yellow Taxi.

© 1974 Live TV performance

© 1970 Music and Lyrics Joni Mitchell

Guitar & Voice: Joni Mitchell

Album: Ladies of the Canyon

Reprise Records

If you must, before you go, let me just say thank you… for your beauty of spirit and unsurpassed creative genius.  I love you, Joni.  Love.  Light…

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

© 2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.