Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn in New York with Billie Holiday

Many thanks to Ducky for recommending this video


Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first-nighting.
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel; 
They’re making me feel: I’m home.

It’s autumn in New York that brings the promise of new love. 
Autumn in New York is often mingled with pain.
Dreamers with empty hands may sigh for exotic lands;
It’s autumn in New York;
It’s good to live it again.

Autumn in New York, the gleaming rooftops at sundown
Autumn in New York, it lifts you up when you’re let down
Jaded roués and gay divorces who lunch at the Ritz 
Will tell you that it’s divine

It’s autumn in New York transforms the slums into Mayfair
Autumn in New York, you’ll need no castle in Spain
Lovers that bless the dark
On benches in Central Park
Greet autumn in New York,
It’s good to live it again.

~ § ~

~ Vernon Duke aka Vladimir Dukelsky (1934)


  1. This season is the one that I love most!

  2. Probably my favorite vocalist.

    She had a range of only an octave. Makes you wonder just what makes an artist great.

  3. "Makes you wonder just what makes an artist great."

    Surely you know the answer to that, don't you, Ducky?

    It's that thing that can't be weighed, measured, photographed, or duplicated -- that thing that exists beyond the reach of our five physical senses -- that thing that proves we do not and cannot live by bread alone.

    It's called by many names. Aura -- Essence -- Character -- Personality -- Charm -- Uniqueness -- Charisma -- Appeal, etc.

    I prefer to call it SPIRIT, myself.

    I love Billie Holiday too -- always have. She was beautiful, wistful, vulnerable, fragile, innocent, and beguiling with a hint of friendly mischief lurking just beneath the surface.

    She was not really a "singer" so much as an "interpreter" with a unique style and a deep, intuitive understanding of her material.

    I wish she'd had an easier time of it while she lived, but maybe her tenuous grasp on life is the very thing that made her immortal? Who knows?

    The same might be said of Mozart and Schubert -- particularly the latter.

    What a blessing it is that rare souls like these lived among us at all!

    ~ FreeThinke

  4. I wish the piano player had been identified! Whoever he was he made a contribution every bit as great as that of "Lady Day," herself.

    Few seem to realize that singer and accompanist are co-equal -- truly a partnership in the best sense of the word.

    Imagine what this would sound like sans piano, and you'll immediately understand what I mean.

    ~ FT

    1. Makes me want a fine premium cigar matched with a great single malt smokey scotch.

      No better venue to contemplate life than the blues, a fine cigar, and superb spirits.

      Yes, Billie Holiday was a treasure to be appreciated, especially in moments of solitude.

  5. I've got a Billie Holiday CD with all her greatest hits that I can barely stand to listen to.

    I saw the movie about her life and from that depiction of her singing I thought she would at least sound as good as the person portraying her, but, sadly, IMO, she didn't.

    Although in fairness maybe it's because the recordings are old and somehow don't sound as good as technology today can make singers appear, even if their raw talent doesn't equal that of Billie Holiday.

  6. Love Billie Holiday. I have to admit, though, that it was the Fallout video game series that switched me on to her.

    Even video games can have good taste in music sometimes ;)

  7. The piano player was Oscar Peterson.

  8. " ... it was the Fallout video game series that switched me on to her."

    God works in mysterious ways, my friend.

    I'm grateful that He works at all.

    ~ FT

  9. Oscar Peterson! No wonder it's so great.

    Oscar was one of the greatest jazz pianists who ever lived -- right up there with Art Tatum -- almost -- and higher even than Errol Garner.

    Thanks for the information, Ducky.

    ~ FT

  10. No doubt she was an American Gem

  11. A gem, indeed, Darth.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    ~ FT



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