Women in Music: Billie Holiday
We're Celebrating Women in Music for the Month of March!
Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By the time she was 15, Holiday was playing in Harlem clubs with singer Laurence Jackson. In 1933, at the age of 18, she was discovered by producer John Hammond and experienced her first commercial recording session with Benny Goodman.
Known for her distinctive phrasing and expressive, sometimes melancholy voice, Holiday went on to record with jazz pianist Teddy Wilson and many others.
Holiday toured with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1937. The following year, Holiday broke new ground with Artie Shaw and his orchestra, becoming one of the first female African American vocalists to work with a white orchestra. Many promoters however, objected to Holiday—for her race and for her unique vocal style—and she ended up leaving the orchestra out of frustration.
Striking out on her own, Holiday performed at New York's Café Society. She developed some of her trademark stage persona there—wearing gardenias in her hair and singing with her head tilted back. Holiday went on to record many great hits reflecting on her personal life experiences. Many of stormy romances, which were often destructive and abusive.
Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday had a thriving career as a jazz singer for many years. Holiday performing 'Blue Moon.' On November 10, 1956, Holiday performed two concerts before packed audiences at Carnegie Hall, a major accomplishment for any artist, especially a black artist of the segregated period of American history. Live recordings of the second Carnegie Hall concert were released on a Verve/HMV album in the UK in late 1961 called The Essential Billie Holiday. Holiday lost her battle with substance abuse in 1959 at the age of 44.
In the decades to follow her death, many of her singles were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 1987 Billie Holiday is posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Also known as Lady Day, her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues. In 2000, Billie Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Join us for a concert on Friday, March 30th at 7pm with Jenni and the Jazz Junketeers
In honor of Women's History Month they will be performing tunes by Billie Holiday, Lena Horn, Roberta Flack, Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Patsy Cline, Nora Jones and more.
Women's History Month. In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women's History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women's History Month. ... Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities began to celebrate of Women's History Month.