Give Now

Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Billie Holiday: the Decca Years

Billie Holiday's Decca recordings showcased her in larger-ensemble, somewhat more commercial settings, and found Holiday's voice in its prime.

Play Episode (Real Audio)
Billie Holiday Decca Years Album Cover

Photo: Album Cover

Billie Holiday's Decca recordings showcased Holiday in her vocal prime, not yet affected by the physical damage she’d suffer as time went on.

This week on Afterglow we’ll feature the music of Billie Holiday’s Decca years (1944-1950).

The Decca recordings showcased Holiday in larger-ensemble, somewhat more commercial settings (as opposed to her previous small-group work with jazz greats such as Teddy Wilson and Lester Young); she came to the label via Milt Gabler, who had already recorded her for Commodore Records, and who heard an unrealized pop potential in her work.

This period found Holiday’s voice in its prime, more mature than in her earlier years and not yet affected by the physical damage she’d suffer as time went on. The hit “Loverman” and songs such as “You Better Go Now,” “What Is This Thing Called Love,” “You’re My Thrill,” and a haunting alternate take of “No More” are included in the first and second hours of the program.

We’ll also hear from Nina Simone, Gloria Lynne, Chico Hamilton, and Kenny Garrett, as well as recent releases by singer Meredith D’Ambrosio and guitarist Russell Malone, and a song from the only movie ever based on a story by J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye.

You can read more about Billie Holiday here , and you can find Billie-Holiday-related programs in the archives of our Saturday-evening jazz show Night Lights here and here .

Music Heard On This Episode

My One and Only Love
John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman — John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse, 1963)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
My One and Only Love
John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman — John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse, 1963)

Notes: With McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
I'd Do It All Again
Meredith D'Ambrosio — Wishing On the Moon (Second Floor Music, 2006)

Notes: New release.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Nirvanna
Jack Wilson — Easterly Winds (Blue Note, 1967)

Notes: With Lee Morgan on trumpet and Jackie McLean on alto sax.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Love, I've Found You
Gloria Lynne — I Wish You Love (Collectables)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
You Better Go Now
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1946)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
What Is This Thing Called Love
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1946)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Easy Living
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1947)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Keeps On a-Rainin'
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1949)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Deep Song
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1947)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Blue Sands
Chico Hamilton — Comp. Pacific Jazz Quintet Recordings (Mosaic, 1956)

Notes: Buddy Collette composition.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
She Waits for the New Sun
Kenny Garrett — Songbook (Warner Brothers, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Nina Simone — Sugar In My Bowl: 1967-72 (RCA, 1969)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Blue Daniel
Russell Malone — Live at the Jazz Standard V. 1 (MaxJazz, 2006)

Notes: Composition by trombonist Frank Rosolino.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Taking a Chance on Love
Mel Torme — Songs for Any Taste (Bethlehem, 1959)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Loverman
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1944)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
I Love You, Porgy
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1948)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Blues Are Brewin'
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1946)

Notes: Holiday originally sang this song in the movie NEW ORLEANS.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
You're My Thrill
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1949)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
No More
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1944)

Notes: Alternate take.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
My Foolish Heart
Tony Bennett/Bill Evans — Tony Bennett/Bill Evans (Fantasy, 1975)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
You Go to My Head
Art Pepper — Mosaic Select (Mosaic, 1956)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Moon Dreams
Martha Tilton — The Liltin' Miss Tilton (Capitol, 1942)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Hour of Parting
Benny Goodman — Benny Goodman Plays Eddie Sauter (Hep, 1940)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Afterglow:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Afterglow

About The Host

Search Afterglow

This Week On Night Lights

Autumn Serenades

Autumn

Autumn’s here, and the time is right for lying in the leaves, with music from Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman, Sonny Rollins and more.

Read more »

Night Lights is WFIU's weekly program of classic jazz hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Night Lights »