BILLIE HOLIDAY
                         Songs for Distingué Lovers
                           Recording Dates:
                               January 3, 1957  tk 2
                               January 4, 1957  tk 5-6
                               January 7, 1957  tk 1
                               January 8, 1957  tk 3-4
                                Sweets Edison    TP
                                Ben Webster       TS
                                Jimmy Rowles     P 

                                Barney Kessel      G
                                Red Mitchell        D
                                Billie Holiday       VO      
                                                                                                    LINK Retired

Review by Scott Yanow
During the six days and four sessions covered by this 1997 CD (which in its original form consisted of six songs), Billie Holiday recorded 18 titles; a dozen of the best are here, although "Comes Love" is unaccountably missing. This were the last series of extensive small-group recordings that Lady Day would make in the studios. Although her voice was largely shot at this point, she puts so much feeling into some of the lyrics that one can often overlook her dark sound. The all-star band (trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, pianist Jimmie Rowles, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Red Mitchell, and Alvin Stoller or Larry Bunker on drums) is a major asset, and there are plenty of short solos for Edison, Webster and Kessel. Holiday does her best on such numbers as "A Foggy Day," "One for My Baby," "Just One of Those Things" and "I Wished on the Moon," and there are plenty of haunting moments, even if one could tell (even at the time) that the end was probably drawing near for the singer. The music is still well worth having, although completists will prefer a collection with all 18 songs, while beginners should sample Holiday's Columbia and Decca output first.

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