When Billie Holiday stepped into Columbia's studios in November 1933, it marked the beginning of what is arguably the most remarkable and influential career in 20th-century popular music. Her voice weathered countless shifts in public taste, and new reincarnations of her continue to arrive, most recently in the form of singers like Amy Winehouse and Adele. Most of the writing on Holiday has focused on the tragic details of her life - her prostitution at the age of 14, her heroin addiction and alcoholism, her series of abusive relationships - or tried to correct the many fabrications of her autobiography. But now, Billie Holiday stays close to the music, to her performance style, and to the self she created and put into print, on record and on stage.
Drawing on a vast amount of new material that has surfaced in the last decade, critically acclaimed jazz writer John Szwed considers how her life inflected her art, her influences, her uncanny voice and rhythmic genius, a number of her signature songs, and her legacy.
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Her life wasn't just about addiction.
It provided me with a respectful portrait of Billie Holiday as a musician, a hard-worker, and a first rate entertainer.
Captured Billie Holiday's spirit and speech well.
Listen again to my Billie Holiday CD.
Absorbing Story, Great Information
Unlike many American narrators of music histories and biographies, her voice complements the tone and rhythm of the story. Interesting, grown-up, and pleasant voice. HOWEVER, like every music history book I've listened to so far, this one contains far too many absurd, disruptive mispronunciations of well-known names. Passing on such egregious errors is a tiresome and very familiar MALpractice of the audiobook recording industry, and listeners need to speak up and demand better products. Mispronunciations, hilarious as they might be, not only propel the listener straight out of the story but damage the narrative trust between the narrator and the listener.WHY don't audiobooks have competent editors?
I found all of the story extremely interesting and illuminating.
- M. Graham