Friday, June 05, 2009

Weekending again

(Acknowledgments, as usual, to Jim J. I'll devise my own formula soon, but this one seems so convenient at the end of a long week. Sorry, also, that this post has ended up so bloated.)

As I've finished on Mr Denham, this week's video is Lady Day and Pres with "Fine and Mellow", a Billie Holiday composition. The lovely, understated trombone solo is Vic Dickenson, the pencil mustaches and hats are very cool, but the real pleasure of this video is Billie Holiday's face. Her and Lester Young, who had not played together for some time before this, were both less than two years from their untimely deaths.

As a bonus, here is an mp3 of Nina Simone singing "Fine and Mellow" two years later. It's cool and bluesy, but lacks the depth of Holiday's version. It's from a wonderful playlist at Motel de Moka.

2 comments:

jams o donnell said...

I'm sure Jim J is not put out with your using his format. Once again a great selection of links

Jim Denham said...

The Billie/Pres "Fine and Mellow" clip is one of the most moving pieces of filmed music I have ever seen and heard. As you say, they were both within a couple of years of their respective deaths, and Pres, in particular, appears to have been the worse for booze and/or dope. But their love for each other shines through, and Billie's expression, as Pres struggles through his solo, says it all.
And well done for name-checking the great Vic Dickenson on trombone. As you say, a most relexed solo, and something of a welcome relief after the high drama of Billie and Pres. once, as a very young jazz fan, I had the privilege of holding Mr Dickenson's trombone while he signed autographs. I still remember that moment with the joy of a star-struck youth.