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Lady Day: 1954

Lady Day: 1954

Billie Holiday, with Teddy Wilson at the piano and Milt Hinton on bass, at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1954, five years from the close of her career and the end of her life. 35mm negative by John Vachon for Look magazine. (Caption updated thanks to our knowledgeable commenters.) View full size.

 

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Billie!

I was but a boy of 7 or 8 years old.
This was before TV came to our home; there was radio!

We had the occasional house party.
The rugs were rolled up; the only 24 hour radio station in our city was tuned in and the dancing commenced.

Billie Holiday was a frequently heard voice fronting various
famous instrumentalists.

I was a Billie fan long before she was to become the icon of more recent times.

Color photo from the same event

If this photo is indeed from the first Newport Jazz Festival on July 18, 1954, then this color photo (from the collection of Michael Steinman) shows Teddy Wilson (the pianist) & Billie Holiday on that same evening and in color.

SLEUTHING

New to the "group".

Impressive detective work.

First Newport Jazz Festival, July 18, 1954

According to Donald Clarke's biography of Ms. Holiday, "Wishing on the Moon," the first-ever Newport Jazz Festival was the first time in many years that she had performed with Teddy Wilson, and the last. Her performance was on July 18, 1954. A different photograph of her performing that evening appeared in Metronome magazine for September 1954. Although the photo is of a poorer quality than this one, the dress looks like a match.

[Good job! - Dave]

Oh man!

Talk about the sound of mid-century American jazz. I hear "Comes Love" at least once a month on the radio station that I listen to. Y'know, Billie was reincarnated as a contemporary jazz singer named Madeleine Peyroux.

Add: jsmakbkr nailed the show. The mic setup is exactly the same so the venue is Newport Casino.

Incredible

That is an astonishing photo in that kind of lighting. You would be pressed to improve on it today.

"Comes Love"

Verve Records, 1957.

I can identify her mic.

Looks like an Astatic T-3.

Teddy's Talent

I was lucky enough to see and hear Teddy Wilson in the George Hotel in Edinburgh in (I think) 1985. His talent was undiminished in the 50-odd years since his recordings with the Benny Goodman Trio, Quartet etc. A true great of jazz who helped make Lady Day great too!

Sidemen

Yes, that is Teddy Wilson on piano and Milt Hinton on bass.

Is it Art Ford's Jazz Party?

With Vinnie Burke on bass and Mal Waldron on piano?

[Vinnie Burke was white. - Dave]

Bassist

Maybe Milt Hinton

Pin down this

What was she singing?

And the musicians are...

Teddy Wilson, piano
Milt Hinton, string bass

At the piano

Looks like Teddy Wilson.

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