Billie Holiday: Body And Soul

On purple vinyl if not from a purple patch in her career, this reissue features high-quality sidemen such as Ben Webster and adds extra tracks


With the addition of two bonus tracks from the same session this is the original Body And Soul album, one of the last albums released in the singer’s lifetime.

It appears on purple vinyl and whilst this later entry into the recording studio would not be regarded by many as being from a purple patch in her career it carries many elements to recommend it, not least the quality line-up of musicians assembled for the dates.

A whole host of fans, a legion, to the present day find these later performances difficult to listen to due to the lack of joie de vivre but by this time Billie had lived through a well-documented series of events that had taken its toll on both body and mental health, so it should have come as no surprise that her voice reflected these experiences.

But, of course, this is still Billie Holiday and these 1957 sides possibly carry a greater understanding of lyrical content, necessitating concentration on delivery rather than the quality of the voice from one of the jazz world’s unique performers.

(1) Body And Soul; (2) They Can’t Take That Away From Me; (1) Darn That Dream: (2) Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off; (1) I Wished On The Moon; Comes Love; (2) Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You; Embraceable You; (1) Moonlight In Vermont; Say It Isn’t So (47.41)
(1) Holiday (v); Ben Webster (ts); Harry “Sweets” Edison (t); Jimmy Rowles (p); Barney Kessel (g); Red Mitchell (b); Alvin Stoller (d). California, 3-4, 7-8 January 1957.
(2) as (1) but omit Stoller, add Larry Bunker (d). 9 January 1957.
20th Century Masterworks 350241