Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Swing It, Lady, Swing: Billie Holiday With The Big Bands

Billie Holiday's discography doesn't reflect the breadth of her big-band experience. "Swing It, Lady, Swing" features nearly all of her big-band recordings.

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Billie Holiday Lady Day Swings Album Covver

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Billie Holiday was very much a vocalist of the big-band era, even though her discography doesn't reflect the breadth of her big-band experience.

Billie Holiday isn’t generally thought of as a big-band singer, in part because she rarely recorded in that context–often because of contractual obligations.

She was very much a vocalist of the big-band era, however, and “Swing It, Lady, Swing” features Holiday in the studio and on stage with Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie, the big-band sides she made for Decca in the late 1940s, and a rare concert performance of “I Cover the Waterfront” with Duke Ellington’s orchestra.

Music Heard On This Episode

Swing, Brother, Swing
Count Basie — Billie Holiday: The Legacy Box 1933-58 (Sony, 1991)
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Swing, Brother, Swing
Count Basie — Billie Holiday: The Legacy Box 1933-58 (Sony, 1991)

Notes: Airshot with Billie Holiday singing.

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Them There Eyes
Billie Holiday — Greatest Hits (Decca, 1995)
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Saddest Tale
Duke Ellington — Very Best of Billie Holiday (Sony Legacy, 2008)

Notes: With Billie Holiday on vocals.

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They Can't Take That Away From Me
Count Basie — Billie Holiday: the Legacy Box 1933-58 (Sony Legacy, 1991)

Notes: With Billie Holiday on vocals.

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I Can't Get Started
Count Basie — Billie Holiday: the Legacy Box 1933-58 (Sony Legacy, 1991)

Notes: With Billie Holiday on vocals.

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Any Old Time
Artie Shaw — The Centennial Edition (BMG, 2004)
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I Cried For You
Benny Goodman — Lady Day: the Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (Sony Legacy, 2001)
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Jeepers, Creepers
Benny Goodman — Lady Day: the Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (Sony Legacy, 2001)
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Baby Get Lost
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1991)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Travelin' Light
Paul Whiteman — Billie's Blues (Blue Note, 1991)
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Deep Song
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (Decca, 1991)
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Easy Living
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (Decca, 1991)
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T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1991)
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Now or Never
Billie Holiday — Complete Decca Recordings (GRP/Decca, 1991)
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The Blues Are Brewin'
Louis Armstrong/Billie Holiday — New Orleans (Definitive Classics, 2000)

Notes: From the soundtrack to the film NEW ORLEANS.

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I Cover the Waterfront
Duke Ellington

Notes: Billie Holiday on vocals, from 1945 Second Esquire Jazz Concert.

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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.

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