Billie Holiday with her big band led by her then-husband, trumpeter Joe Guy, c. 1946
19 year old Billie Holiday’s first ever publicity photo for the Duke Ellington short Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life, c. March 1935
Billie Holiday during rehearsal for her second major headlined Carnegie Hall concert
"It was evident, even then, that Miss Holiday was ill. I had known her casually over the years and I was shocked at her physical weakness. Her rehearsal had been desultory; her voice sounded tinny and trailed off; her body sagged tiredly. But I will not forget the metamorphosis that night. The lights went down, the musicians began to play and the narration began. Miss Holiday stepped from between the curtains, into the white spotlight awaiting her, wearing a white evening gown and white gardenias in her black hair. She was erect and beautiful; poised and smiling. And when the first section of narration was ended, she sang – with strength undiminished – with all of the art that was hers. I was very much moved. In the darkness, my face burned and my eyes. I recall only one thing. I smiled."
-Gilbert Millstein on Billie Holiday’s Carnegie Hall concert on November 10, 1956
Billie Holiday with Marian and Jimmy McPartland in 1948.
Marian McPartland passed away August 20, 2013 at the age of 95. She was a jazz pianist, composer, and writer and hosted the Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio from 1978 until 2011.
"In the line ‘write to the Browns just as soon as you’re able/They came around to call’, she sings ‘came around’ so that we have no doubt at all who the Browns are: ‘I know they’re boring, but they’re old friends, baby, so drop ‘em a line. But when you comin’ home?’” -Donald Clarke