Over Billie Holiday
Long since gone, Lady Day still casts a spell. Like her musical alter ego, Frank Sinatra, interest in her personal life threatens to overshadow her importance to jazz and pop. Forget the tragedy, listen to the music. Holiday's attention to phrasing has influenced generations of singers and players. With her trademark gardenia in her hair, she advanced the art of singing by adding personal nuance and detail to each number. She practiced a subtle craft, telling a story with each lyric...her story. But even if all you speak is Esperanto, she has enough musicianship to duet with the likes of Lester Young and Ben Webster. Like them, her music dazzles with emotion, not empty gymnastics.