Billie Holiday would have turned 100 today. It’s easy to remember what Ms. Holiday would have become had she lived past 44. But, as the truly great woman she was, she would not have wanted everyone to dwell on all the amazing accomplishments she could have attained had her life gone on longer. Her life was full of wonder, emotion, creativity, and pain. And she lived out all her experiences through her music. Yesterday she was honored by the Apollo Theater with a star on their Walk of Fame. And I’m sure there will be plenty of other accolades to come as fans across the world celebrate Holiday’s life and music.
To honor her music is to honor her, and as part of honoring her music, I wanted to showcase a couple songs that I fell in love with at an early age. These were the first two songs (other than Strange Fruit) of Ms. Holiday’s that I came across while in my Jazz Music History course and they have become two of my all-time favorite songs. On “Stars Fell on Alabama” and “Body and Soul” she is accompanied by Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet); Jimmie Rowles (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Red Mitchell (bass); Larry Bunker and Alvin Stoller (drums).