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Teddy Wilson-A Sunbonnet Blue (Remastered)

Teddy Wilson - A Sunbonnet Blue (Remastered)

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Teddy Wilson A Sunbonnet Blue (Remastered)

Beschreibung und Texte
Billie Holiday sings under the leadership of Teddy Wilson: "What A Little Moonlight Can Do" on Brunswick 7501, recorded on July 2, 1935.

A young Billie Holiday sings the vocal refrain. This was from her third recording session.

Her first was on November 27, 1933, which produced "Your Mother's Son-In-Law," Billie providing vocals as white musicians played (or mostly white--perhaps Buck Washington was at the piano).

The second session was on December 18, 1933, which produced "Riffin' the Scotch" (she returned to the studio on this date since an earlier take of "Riffin' the Scotch" from the November session did not pass muster).

This third session is historic since it produced four tracks, all outstanding. Teddy Wilson is the leader, Billie providing brief vocals, so technically these are Teddy Wilson recordings though it is understandable if jazz fans think of them as Billie Holiday records.

I view the four recordings from this session not as Billie Holiday numbers as discs featuring Teddy Wilson with an All-Star Cast of Jazz Superheroes. Billie is one superstar among others--Benny Goodman, Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, Teddy Wilson!

Musicians on this recording are Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Ben Webster (tenor saxophone), Teddy Wilson (piano), John Trueheart (guitar), John Kirby (bass), Cozy Cole (drums), and Billie Holiday (vocals).

The song is by Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain.

A sunbonnet blue and a yellow straw hat
Shy little he and she
Were declaring love's old story
In the shade of the old apple tree

A sunbonnet blue and a yellow straw hat
Decided to say, "I do"
So they rode to June and glory
On a bicycle built for two

Hear the past. The song is old.
The summer days are through
With silver threads among the gold
They still say, "I love you"

A sunbonnet blue and a yellow straw hat
Are true to this very day
For he loves her in December
As he did in May

My rule of thumb for Billie Holiday records is the earlier, the better. This is very early, and I love this recording--it never bores me unlike many of Billie's later discs.

I likewise cherish what came from Billie's first session ("Your Mother's Son-In-Law") and second ("Riffin' the Scotch"--or call that her third since she returned to the studio) and the other Teddy Wilson sessions of the mid-1930s, but by the late 1930s, sessions produced less interesting material to my ears.

The 1940s were uneven for Billie, and almost nothing by Billie from the 1950s holds my attention.

Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan (or Eleanor Holiday? Eleanora Fagan Gough? Elinore DeViese?) on April 7, 1915, in Baltimore (if we trust her autobiography--perhaps that is not wise) or Philadelphia (more likely--see her birth registration).

Jazz critics complain that Billie was forced to work with trite songs in her early days. I no longer read jazz critics because of such silly pronouncements. Billie Holiday handles so-called "trite" songs in very interesting ways, and I prefer Billie's early "trite" material to her later recordings of songs by Cole Porter, Gershwin, and other song-writing giants.

From 1935 until a recording ban on August 1, 1942, Billie sang on around 150 sides (153? 158?) that were or became Columbia property. Original labels include Brunswick and Vocalion.

She made Commodore recordings, beginning on April 20, 1939.

She made Decca recordings, starting in October 1944--by this time Billie was more of a chanteuse or star of song or cabaret singer, less of a jazz singer. This was Billie as a "serious artist" (paradoxically, she was better as an artist when she wasn't trying so hard to be a serious artist--in the early days she merely sang pop songs, and she shined). That means on Decca discs she dominated records, the background musicians staying in the background.

From 1952 to 1957, she sang for Norman Granz's Verve label, but Billie's voice was a pale shadow by this time of what it had been. Some of her late work is painful to hear.

Billie is best in early Teddy Wilson recordings--or at sessions with people like Teddy Wilson (after all, she worked with other great pianists). Billie is best when she is just one of the gang at a session of superstars. She gets her turn--and Lester gets a turn, or Ben Webster, or Jess Stacy, or Buck Clayton.
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