Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

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Sony Legacy Edition

Limited vinyl LP repressing of this classic 1958 album by the jazz icon. Lady in Satin is the penultimate album completed by the singer and last released in her lifetime. The original album was produced by Irving Townsend, and engineered by Fred Plaut. The song material for Lady in Satin derived from the usual sources for Holiday in her three decade career, that of the Great American Songbook of classic pop. Unlike the bulk of Holiday's recordings, rather than in the setting of a jazz combo Holiday returns to the backdrop of full orchestral arrangements as done during her Decca years, this time in the contemporary vein of Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald on her Songbooks series. The album consists of songs Holiday had never recorded before. The arrangements were by bandleader Ray Ellis, Holiday familiar with his Ellis in Wonderland album. Soloists on the album included Mel Davis, Urbie Green, and bebop trombone pioneer J.J. Johnson.

Almost forty years after Lady in Satin was recorded, Ray Ellis remembered the following: "On January 3, 1958, I received a call from record executive Irving Townsend asking if I was free February 18th, 19th and 20th. On my reply of yes he said, 'Great! Billie Holiday is in my office and she wants you to write the arrangements for the album she's about to record'. I was flabbergasted. Apparently, she'd heard an album I'd recently called Ellis in Wonderland. We set up a meeting for the following week to pick material and plan the concept. It didn't dawn on me at the time, but just about every title that she picked was the story of her life, unrequited love." The results from those three sessions would mark Billie's last great hit, and her next to last studio album. (While her very last LP was made with Ray Ellis again at the beginning of the following year, it never reached the heights of her previous album.) Most jazz fans now consider Lady in Satin to be Holiday's last great effort, and she also loved the album herself. It is true that her voice, after a life of self-abuse, wasn't the same as on her earliest 1930s recordings. Her expressiveness, however, would remain with her to the end, and this album seems to showcase her baring her soul like never before.