Small jazz groups brought out the best in Billie Holiday – especially groups as good as the one heard on this classic 1957 recording. Ben Webster, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison and the other members of this stellar ensemble were not just gifted soloists but sensitive accompanists as well. ‘Lady Day’ was rarely more ably supported than she was on this program of sturdy standards, including three gems by the Gershwin brothers – and she rarely sounded more luminous
On the programme in January 1957 were hits from musicals and popular evergreens from the era of swing. Was it the excellent accompanists that spurred Billie Holiday on? Or was it the relaxed atmosphere of the West Coast that made her feel at ease? Or did she realize that she had another chance to show off her talent once again? We, as listeners, can only speculate over that. But what we can be sure of is that “Body And Soul” bears witness to a broken soul and a maltreated body – and it will remain so for ever.
And just a word about the producer: Norman Granz deserves enormous credit for rescuing Billie Holiday from falling into oblivion by offering her an exclusive recording contract at the beginning of the Fifties, and remaining true to her right up until her death.
2. They Can’t Take That Away From Me
3. Darn That Dream
4. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
2. Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
3. Embraceable You
4. Moonlight In Vermont