Billie Essay Holiday

He never lived with the family, choosing his musical career over them.As a child Billie started working very young, running errands and cleaning a house of prostitution's (a place where sexual acts are traded for money) marble stoop.It was here that she first heard Louis Armstrong (1900–1971) and Bessie Smith (1894–1937) records through the open windows.

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But it was through a series of recordings made between 19 that her international reputation was established.

During the late 1930s she was also a big band vocalist, first with Count Basie (1904–1984) in 1937 and then with Artie Shaw (1910–) in 1938.

Holiday's career reached its peak in the late 1930s.

In 1938 she worked a long engagement at Cafe Society.

Many successful tunes were recorded, interweaving Young's tenor saxophone with Holiday's voice.

After the late 1930s they rarely recorded together, but to the end they remained soul mates.Born: April 7, 1915 Baltimore, Maryland Died: July 17, 1959 New York, New York African American jazz singer Billie Holiday was an African American jazz vocalist who perhaps showed the most expression of feeling of any singer in jazz history.Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Baltimore, Maryland.The following year she joined Benny Goodman on a radio broadcast. The first, "Strange Fruit," is a detailed description of a lynching (an unjust killing because of race).Columbia record company considered it too inflammatory (exciting to the senses) and refused to issue it.That simple, central fact has eluded a good many of those who have written about her. Not long before she died in 1959, raddled by heroin and alcohol and desperate for money, she agreed to tell her story to William Dufty, a friend who evidently believed double-checking any of her tales would be seen by her as an act of betrayal.The lurid result, , proudly billed by its publisher as “the most shocking autobiography of our times,” portrayed her mostly as a helpless victim—of endemic racism and malevolent men, idiotic laws and an uncaring public.That category includes artists whose music predates rock and roll, but who inspired and had a strong effect on rock and roll music. She was an artist, fully conscious (except when one or another of her twin addictions temporarily befogged her mind) of the effect on her audience of every precisely enunciated syllable, every languid rhythm and shrewdly slurred phrase.She died in Metropolitan Hospital in New York City on July 17, 1959, of "congestion of the lungs complicated by heart failure." At the time of her death she had been under arrest in her hospital bed for illegal possession of drugs. Holiday's early small-group recordings have been rereleased in several boxed sets under the general title Billie Holiday: The Golden Years.

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