Lady Sings The Blues

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Spara som favorit. Originally released by Doubleday in , Harlem Moon Classics celebrates the publication with the fiftieth-anniversary edition of Billie Holiday's unforgettable and timeless memoir, updated with an insightful introduction and a revised discography, both written by celebrated music writer David Ritz. Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation.

This Woman’s Work explores jazz singer Billie Holiday’s album Lady Sings the Blues.

Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday's rough-and-tumble Baltimore childhood where she ran errands at a whorehouse in exchange for the chance to listen to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith albums , to her emergence on Harlem's club scene, to sold-out performances with the Count Basie Orchestra and with Artie Shaw and his band, this revelatory memoir is notable for its trenchant observations on the racism that darkened Billie's life and the heroin addiction that ended it too soon. Recorded over two separate sessions in Los Angeles in September and over two days in June in New York City this is an album that as close to a musical autobiography as you can get.

The Los Angeles sessions offer a fresher sounding Billie, but that in no way diminishes the quality of the songs recorded in New York City. When it was originally released on Clef records Downbeat magazine give it a glowing review and 5 stars.


The book was written with William Dufty, assistant to the editor of the New York Post … Seldom in the book does she talk about her singing. With the selections in this album, as in the others that have preceded it, Miss Holiday sings it — and it is there for anyone to feel. Billie Holiday, as everyone knows by now, has led a torn and tattered life — all of this is revealed candidly in her autobiography.

But the fact is, the printed word can explore only so many subtleties of human experience. An orphan is provisionally adopted by the manager of a hotel populated by show business people. The hotel's owner doesn't like the entertainers and wants the girl returned to the orphanage. Eric Wainwright Van Johnson , a busy impresario, is besieged by hordes of wannabe concert stars, eager for their big break. One of them is Cynthia Potter June Allyson , a talented pianist An investigation into the way media portrayals impact the actual inclusion of people with disabilities in society.

An old, dying satanist arranges to transfer his soul into the body of a young concert pianist.

Born Elinore Harris, Billie Holiday had a difficult teen and young adulthood period, which included working in brothels, both as a cleaning woman and a prostitute, and being raped. Through this difficulty, she dreamed of becoming a jazz singer. She got her initial singing break when she applied at a Harlem club that was looking for a dancer, but where she got hired as a singer. There, she met and fell in love with the suave Louis McKay.

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After this initial break, Billie wanted her singing career to move to the mainstream clubs in downtown Manhattan. She took a risk when she agreed to be the lead singer for the Reg Hanley Band, a primarily white group, who convinced her that she would have to make her mark in regional tours before her Manhattan dream could happen. As Billie tried to advance her career, pressures of life, including being a black woman, led to her not so secret substance abuse especially of heroin , not so secret because of her increasingly erratic behavior, both on Written by Huggo.

The recent death of Richard Pryor prompted me to look at the DVD package of 's "Lady Sings the Blues", which proves the then-young comedian to be a fine actor in the meaty supporting role of Piano Man.

Lady sings the blues (La signora del blues) [SUB ITA]

Even though he was a master stand-up comic, it's still too bad he never pursued roles of a similar dramatic caliber since he obviously had the talent. Similarly, Diana Ross never fulfilled the promise of her big screen debut in the title role as legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday Bearing no physical and little vocal resemblance to Holiday, Ross somehow gets under her true-life character's skin much like Joaquin Phoenix does in "Walk the Line" or Jamie Foxx in "Ray". Thirty-three years have elapsed since I first saw this movie, and it is with a certain amount of regret that I report that Ross as an actress has not been anywhere near this good since then.

Lady Sings the Blues [Original Soundtrack]

Granted she only has three features under her belt, 's "Mahogany" reflected an ego run amok, and she was disturbingly miscast in 's "The Wiz". From the opening scene where she is suffering through heroin withdrawal in raw, harrowing detail to her sultrier nightclub performances, she manages to be incendiary by her sheer will.

She is even convincing in the early scenes where she is barely a teenager.

Her vocal performances really don't evoke Holiday's earthier style, though to Ross's credit, her vivid renditions of standards such as "Mean to Me", "Fine and Mellow" and "Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer " don't sound like Supremes redux either. This achievement is all the more impressive since director Sidney J. Furie, a journeyman filmmaker at best, has surrounded Ross with an unwieldy rags-to-riches biopic that should have been edited down from its minute running time.

The drug-related scenes are powerful, though they eventually start to feel like condescending plot devices to make the viewer sympathize with Holiday for the persecution she experienced at the hands of abusive men and a bigoted society.

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Moreover, as Furie discloses on the accompanying audio commentary, the dialogue for several scenes is improvised by the actors, for example, the unnecessarily lengthy Club Manhattan sequence, where the lack of discipline becomes wearing. Contrary to the fact that Holiday's true life story has been well documented and interest in her legacy increased, the filmmakers altered events and people in order to maintain interest from what they thought were mainstream audiences at the time. Consequently, the character of Louis McKay, Holiday's love interest and eventual husband, played with toothsome charm by Billy Dee Williams, synthesizes a lot of men who came into her life and helped shape her career.

Billie Holiday

The dramatized results leave out key figures of the jazz world like saxophonist Lester Young, trombonist Jimmy Monroe to whom Holiday was married, and record producer John Hammond, as well as Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Artie Shaw and Teddy Wilson--all important colleagues and mentors during the period covered in the film. Instead, we are given Holiday's story as filtered through Ross's own story, an observation confirmed by Ross herself on the accompanying making-of featurette.

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When the music is true to the period, it's quite wonderful, but composer Michel Legrand composed some gauzy, anachronistic interludes that sound like symphonic outtakes from his work on "Brian's Song". The costumes also have a Vegas revue feel, no surprise since designer Bob Mackie's flamboyant, early 's style is on full display here. For such an overlong movie, the ending feels quite truncated as newspaper clips are used to telegraph her eventual fate as Ross triumphantly sings her signature song, "God Bless the Child", in Carnegie Hall.

Credit Motown mogul and Ross's Svengali, Berry Gordy, for having the fortitude, foresight and tenacity to oversee the project, and the DVD hammers that point in not only the overemphatic, only partially insightful commentary by Furie, Gordy and artists' manager Shelly Berger but also the making-of featurette which features Ross looking strangely youthful and Williams at least looking his age. There are several deleted scenes included in the DVD with no additional commentary from Furie, none refurbished and all understandably excised from the final cut.

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