Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing, her vocal style inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills, which made up for her limited range and lack of formal music education. After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs in Harlem, where she was heard by the producer John Hammond, who commended her voice, she signed a recording contract with Brunswick in 1935. Collaborations with Teddy Wilson yielded the hit "What a Little Moonlight Can Do", which became a jazz standard. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday had mainstream success on labels such as Decca. By the late 1940s, she was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, she performed at a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, but her reputation deteriorated because of her drug and alcohol problems.
Though she was a successful concert performer throughout the 1950s with two further sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall, Holiday's bad health, coupled with a string of abusive relationships and ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, caused her voice to wither. Her final recordings were met with mixed reaction, owing to her damaged voice, but were mild commercial successes, her final album, Lady in Satin, was released in 1958. Holiday died of cirrhosis on July 17, 1959, she won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. Lady Sings the Blues, a film about her life, starring Diana Ross, was released in 1972, she is the primary character in the play Lady Day at Grill. In 2017 Holiday was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. Eleanora Fagan was born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, the daughter of unwed teenage couple Sarah Julia "Sadie" Fagan and Clarence Holiday. Sarah moved to Philadelphia aged 19, after she was evicted from her parents' home in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland for becoming pregnant.
With no support from her parents, she made arrangements with her older, married half-sister Eva Miller for Eleanora to stay with her in Baltimore. Not long after Eleanora was born, Clarence abandoned his family to pursue a career as a jazz banjo player and guitarist. Holiday had a difficult childhood, her mother took what were known as "transportation jobs", serving on passenger railroads. Holiday was raised by Eva Miller's mother-in-law Martha Miller, suffered from her mother's absences and being in others' care for her first decade of life. Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, first published in 1956, is sketchy on details of her early life, but much was confirmed by Stuart Nicholson in his 1995 biography of the singer; some historians have disputed Holiday's paternity, as a copy of her birth certificate in the Baltimore archives lists her father as "Frank DeViese." Other historians consider this an anomaly inserted by a hospital or government worker. DeViese lived in Philadelphia, Sadie Harris may have known him through her work.
Sadie Harris known as Sadie Fagan, married Philip Gough, but the marriage ended in two years. Eleanora was left with Martha Miller, she skipped school, her truancy resulted in her being brought before the juvenile court on January 5, 1925, when she was nine years old. She was sent to the House of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic reform school, where she was baptized on March 19, 1925. After nine months in care, she was "paroled" on October 1925, to her mother, she had opened a restaurant, the East Side Grill, mother and daughter worked long hours there. By the age of 11, Holiday had dropped out of school. On December 24, 1926, Sadie came home to discover a neighbor, Wilbur Rich, attempting to rape Eleanora, she fought back, Rich was arrested. Officials placed Eleanora in the House of the Good Shepherd under protective custody as a state witness in the rape case. Holiday was released in February 1927, she found a job running errands in a brothel, she scrubbed marble steps and kitchen and bathroom floors of neighborhood homes.
Around this time, she first heard the records of Bessie Smith. By the end of 1928, Holiday's mother moved to Harlem, New York, again leaving Eleanora with Martha Miller. By early 1929, Holiday had joined her mother in Harlem, their landlady was a sharply-dressed woman named Florence Williams, who ran a brothel at 151 West 140th Street. Holiday's mother became a prostitute, within a matter of days of arriving in New York, not yet 14 became a prostitute at $5 a client; the house was raided on May 2, 1929, Holiday and her mother were sent to prison. After spending time in a workhouse, her mother was released in July, Holiday was released in October; as a young teenager, Holiday started singing in nightclubs in Harlem. She took her professional pseudonym from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, the musician Clarence Holiday, her probable father. At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name "Halliday", her father's birth surname, but changed it to "Holiday", his performing name; the young singer teamed up with tenor saxophone player Kenneth Hollan.
They were a team from 1929 to 1931, performing at clubs such as the Grey Dawn, Pod's and Jerry's on 133rd
Sylvia Brooks is an American jazz singer. Brooks was born as Sylvia Victoria Ippolito in Florida, her father, Don Ippolito, was a jazz pianist who has played with various other icons such as Ira Sullivan, Buddy Rich, Peggy Lee, Dizzie Gillespie, her mother, Johanna Dordick, was an opera singer, who founded the Los Angeles Opera Theatre. Brooks began her professional life as an actress. In 2012, Brooks released her second album, collaborating with Kim Richmond. In 2017, Brooks released The Arrangement. Official website
The Duets (Mulgrew Miller album)
The Duets is a studio album by American jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller and Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. The album was recorded in Copenhagen on Bang & Olufsen label and released in 1999; the record features famous compositions by pianist Duke Ellington as well as two originals by bandmembers. Their duo became a trio with the occasional inclusion of drummer Alvin Queen in 2000. In 1999-2000, Pedersen had the opportunity to make a studio recording to celebrate Duke Ellington’s 100th birthday; the session was planned as a piano-and-bass duo, so NHØP chose Miller, whom he had never played with before. From that occasion on, they had an affinity both as men and musicians, they opted for a repertoire based on the historic 1941 Duke Ellington—Jimmy Blanton duets. In 2000, NHØP and Miller recorded another album and toured around the world, commemorating Duke Elington’s 100th birthday. Band Mulgrew Miller – piano Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen – bassProduction Ib Skovgaard – producer Niels Erik Lund – engineer MHI Partners – booklet design Peter H. Larsen – executive producer Jordi Sunol – executive producer Hans P. Folmann – executive producer Jan Persson – photography
Otto James "Toby" Hardwicke was a saxophone player associated with Duke Ellington. Hardwick started on string bass at the age of 14 moved to C melody saxophone and settled on alto saxophone. A childhood friend of Duke Ellington's, Hardwick joined Ellington's first band in Washington, D. C. in 1919. Hardwick worked for banjoist Elmer Snowden at Murray's Casino. In 1923, Hardwick, trumpeter Arthur Whetsol, drummer Sonny Greer had success as the Washingtonians in New York City. After a disagreement over money, Snowden was forced out of the band and Duke Ellington was elected as the new leader, they were booked at a Times Square nightspot called the Kentucky Club for three years where they met Irving Mills, who produced and published Ellington's music. Hardwick doubled on violin and string bass in the 1920s, but specialized on alto sax, he played clarinet and bass and soprano saxes. Hardwick left the Duke Ellington band in 1928 to visit Europe, where he played with Noble Sissle, Sidney Bechet and Nekka Shaw's Orchestra, led his own orchestra before returning to New York City in 1929.
He had a brief stint with Chick Webb led his own band at the Hot Feet Club, with Fats Waller leading the rhythm section, led at Small's before rejoining Duke Ellington in the spring of 1932, following a brief stint with Elmer Snowden. He played lead alto on most Ellington numbers from 1932 to 1946 but he was heard as a soloist because Johnny Hodges got many of the alto solos. Famous exceptions are: Tan Fantasy, In a Sentimental Mood and Sophisticated Lady. Hardwick, with his creamy tone, was always the lead alto in the reed section of the Ellington orchestra except in some situations where Ellington required the more cutting tone of Johnny Hodges' alto to set the tone of the ensemble. After Hardwick's departure it soon became the norm for Johnny Hodges to take the ensemble lead as well as taking the lion's share of the solos on alto sax, he remained with Ellington until May 1946, when he left the band because of Ellington's dislike of Hardwick’s girlfriend. Hardwick went on to freelance for a short time in the following year, retired from music.
In his biography of Ellington, author James Lincoln Collier says that “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “Prelude to a Kiss” are adaptations of Hardwick melodies. Http://www.basssax.com/ottohardwick.htm
Ellington Showcase is an album by American pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington recorded for the Capitol label at various sessions in 1953–55. The album has not been released on CD but the tracks have appeared on The Complete Capitol Recordings of Duke Ellington released by Mosaic Records in 1995; the Allmusic review awarded the album 3 stars.:All compositions by Duke Ellington except as indicated "Blossom" - 2:29 "Big Drag" - 2:51 "Don't Ever Say Goodbye" - 3:01 "Falling Like a Raindrop" - 3:02 "Gonna Tan Your Hide" - 6:13 "Harlem Air Shaft" - 3:54 "La Virgen De La Macarena" - 4:02 "Clarinet Melodrama" - 5:42 "Theme For Trambean" - 3:26 "Serious Serenade" - 2:50Recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles on April 9, 1953, at Universal Studios in Chicago on July 1, 1953 December 29, 1953, January 17, 1954, May 17, 1955, May 18, 1955, at Capitol Studios in New York on June 17, 1954. Duke Ellington – piano, electric piano Billy Strayhorn - piano Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Ray Nance, Clark Terry - trumpet Quentin Jackson, George Jean, Juan Tizol, Britt Woodman - trombone John Sanders - valve trombone Russell Procope - alto saxophone, clarinet Rick Henderson - alto saxophone Paul Gonsalves - tenor saxophone Jimmy Hamilton - clarinet, tenor saxophone Harry Carney - baritone saxophone, bass clarinet Wendell Marshall, Jimmy Woode - bass Butch Ballard Dave Black - drums
Albany Leon "Barney" Bigard was an American jazz clarinetist known for his 15-year tenure with Duke Ellington. He played tenor saxophone. Bigard was born in New Orleans to a family of Creoles; the son of Alexander and Emanuella Bigard, he had Alexander Jr. and Sidney. His uncle, Emile Bigard, was a jazz violinist, he studied music and clarinet with Lorenzo Tio. In the early 1920s he moved to Chicago, where he worked with others. During this period, much of his recording, including with clarinetist Johnny Dodds, was on tenor saxophone, which he played with great lyricism, as on Oliver's "Someday Sweetheart". In 1927 Bigard joined Duke Ellington's orchestra in New York, where he was part of the Harlem Renaissance, he played with Ellington until 1942. They played at the Cotton Club until 1931 toured nonstop for over a decade. With Ellington, he was the featured clarinet soloist, while doing section work on tenor saxophone. After leaving Ellington's orchestra, Bigard moved to California, he did soundtrack work for Hollywood film studios and had an onscreen featured role with an all-star band led by Louis Armstrong in the film New Orleans.
He began working with trombonist Kid Ory's group during the late 1940s. He worked with Armstrong's touring band, the All Stars, others. Bigard appeared and played in the movie St. Louis Blues, with Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey and Eartha Kitt. Bigard wrote an autobiography entitled With The Duke, he is credited as composer or co-composer on several numbers, notably the Ellington standard "Mood Indigo". The first version of the song "Caravan" was recorded in Hollywood, 18 December 1936, performed as an instrumental by Barney Bigard and His Jazzopators. Two takes were recorded and were issued, although L-0373-2 is by far the more found take; the band members were Cootie Williams, Juan Tizol, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Billy Taylor, Sonny Greer. All of the players were members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, drawn upon to record small-group sides. Though Ellington was present at the recording date, the session leader was Bigard. In keeping with Ellington's formation of small groups featuring his primary soloists, Bigard continued to be featured under his own name on Variety and subsequently Vocalion Records and OKeh through 1940.
When Ellington signed with Victor in 1940, Bigard recorded for Bluebird under his own name. He sat in with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for some of their biggest hits, such as "Moonlight Serenade", "Little Brown Jug", "Tuxedo Junction". Bigard was a member of Louis Armstrong's All Stars before and after Edmond Hall joined. Bigard can be seen with the All Stars in the movie The Glenn Miller Story. After World War II, Bigard recorded under his own name for Signature Records, Black & White, Selmer Records, Keynote in 1944–45, he recorded an album for Liberty in 1957 and an album for French Vogue Records as "Barney Bigard-Claude Luter Quintet" in 1966. Bigard died on June 1980, in Culver City, California, he was 74. With Louis and The Duke – Barney Bigard's autobiography Barney Bigard on IMDb Barney Bigard at the Internet Broadway Database
Dance to the Duke!
Dance to the Duke! is an album by American pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington recorded for the Capitol label in 1953. The album has not been released on CD but the tracks have appeared on The Complete Capitol Recordings of Duke Ellington released by Mosaic Records in 1995; the Allmusic review awarded the album 3 stars.:All compositions by Duke Ellington except as indicated "C Jam Blues" - 4:52 "Orson" - 2:37 "Caravan" - 4:32 "Kinda Dukish" - 2:32 "Bakiff" - 5:48 "Frivolous Banta" - 2:39 "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" - 6:22 "Night Time" - 2:53Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles on April 7, 1953, December 28, 1953, September 1, 1954, in San Francisco on April 26, 1954 and in Chicago on January 1, 1954, January 2, 1954 and October 8, 1954. Duke Ellington – piano Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Ray Nance, Clark Terry, Gerald Wilson - trumpet Quentin Jackson, George Jean, Juan Tizol, Britt Woodman - trombone John Sanders - valve trombone Russell Procope - alto saxophone, clarinet Rick Henderson - alto saxophone Paul Gonsalves - tenor saxophone Jimmy Hamilton - clarinet, tenor saxophone Harry Carney - baritone saxophone, bass clarinet Wendell Marshall, Oscar Pettiford - bass Butch Ballard, Dave Black - drums Ralph Collier - congas Frank Rollo - bongos