The immortal Bille Holiday tearing your heart out with her pain and her passionate interpretations. Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915 she died two years after this album and video in 1959.
This from Wikipedia :
On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York with liver and heart disease. She was arrested for drug possession as she lay dying, and her hospital room was raided. Police guarded her room. Holiday stayed under police guard until she died from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959.In her final years, she had been progressively swindled out of her earnings, and she died with $0.70 in the bank and $750 (a tabloid fee) on her person”.
An unbelievable clip with an all start cast:
Billie Holiday singing with Ben Webster — tenor saxophone, Lester Young — tenor saxophone, Vic Dickenson — trombone, Gerry Mulligan — baritone saxophone, Coleman Hawkins — tenor saxophone, Roy Eldridge — trumpet, Doc Cheatham — trumpet, Danny Barker — guitar, Milt Hinton — double bass, Mal Waldron — piano and Osie Johnson – drums
“Lester got up, and he played the purest blues I have ever heard, and [he and Holiday] were looking at each other, their eyes were sort of interlocked, and she was sort of nodding and half–smiling. It was as if they were both remembering what had been—whatever that was. And in the control room we were all crying. When the show was over, they went their separate ways.”- jazz critic Nat Hentoff.