Billie Holiday – Carnegie Hall Concert Tape With Unreleased Content

Two original reel-to-reel tapes of jazz great Billie Holiday, live in concert at Carnegie Hall in 1956. While much of Holiday’s legendary November 1956 show has been released, the tapes we offer here include additional content that has never been available. These tapes come from the estate of celebrated music critic Ralph J. Gleason, one of the most important music critics ever and co-founder of Rolling Stone.) Gleason’s archive included many tapes sent to him from friends and record company executives. We don’t know who sent these tapes to Gleason, but it could have been Holiday’s discoverer, John Hammond, who was a friend and correspondent of Gleason. Wikipedia’s entry for Holiday notes ‘On November 10, 1956, Holiday performed two concerts before packed audiences at Carnegie Hall, a major accomplishment for any artist, especially a black artist of the segregated period of American history. Live recordings of the second Carnegie Hall concert were released on a Verve album in The Essential Billie Holiday…liner notes on this album were written partly by Gilbert Millstein of The New York Times, who served as narrator in the Carnegie Hall concerts. Interspersed among Holiday’s songs, Millstein read aloud four lengthy passages from her autobiography Lady Sings The Blues. ‘ The tape we offer here contains additional readings by Millstein (including references to Holiday’s drug use, racial tensions, Holiday’s hustling of the members of Count Basie’s band, her sexuality and her sentencing and parole, all excised from the sanitized released version,) longer versions of tracks which were edited for length (one has an additional minute,) and unreleased performances of the songs ‘Miss Brown To You,’ ‘Too Marvelous For Words,’ ‘I Cried For You,’ and the second half of an unreleased ‘Them There Eyes.’ At the end, Holiday is presented with a book, which didn’t make the released version. This is an extraordinarily important Jazz artifact which we are proud to offer. A more detailed description of the tape and its historical significance is available on request.

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