Saturday, October 24, 2009


This is an amazing clip. Billie Holiday is reunited with lifelong friend, tenor sax legend Lester Young. Filmed in 1957, the two will be gone in less than two years, but listen: Billie's voice may be worn but it's still beautiful--sweet and grainy and magnificent. Lester plays a brilliant solo, and Billie responds. The rest of the band is great, too, with Lady Day and Prez joined by Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Vic Dickenson and Roy Eldridge. What a crazy line-up!

"Prez" Lester Young

These old friends had hard times. They both died too young, but more import--they LIVED. We complain about a toothache or a bit of bad luck like it's the end of the world, but Billie shows you can be down but not out. Her story may end in tragedy, but it remains a triumph of the human spirit. Listen...can you feel that?

Old Friends: Billie Holiday and Lester Young, 1957

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