Lady in Satin

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Lady in Satin
Studio album by Billie Holiday
Released June 1958
Recorded 19–21 February 1958
Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City, New York
Genre Vocal Jazz
Length 44:36
Label Columbia
Producer Irving Townsend
Billie Holiday chronology
All or Nothing at All
(1957)
Lady in Satin
(1958)
Last Recordings
(1959)
Lady in Satin (Mono Release Cover)

Lady in Satin is an album by jazz singer Billie Holiday released in 1958 on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 1157 in mono and CS 8048 in stereo. It is the penultimate album completed by the singer and last released in her lifetime (her final album, Billie Holiday, being recorded in March 1959 and released just after her death). The original album was produced by Irving Townsend, and engineered by Fred Plaut.

Background[edit]

For the majority of the 1950s, Billie Holiday was signed to jazz producer Norman Granz's Clef Records, which was later absorbed into the newly founded Verve Records by 1956. All of her work for Norman Granz consisted of small jazz combos, reuniting her with musicians she recorded with back in the 1930s when she made her first recordings with Teddy Wilson. There were talks in the early 1950s of Holiday making albums, or songbooks, dedicated to composers such as George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern, but they fell through and ended up going to Ella Fitzgerald when she signed to Verve. By 1957, Holiday had recorded twelve albums for Granz and was unhappy. Therefore she decided not to renew her contract.

By October 1957, Holiday contacted Columbia producer Irving Townsend and expressed interest in recording with bandleader Ray Ellis after listening to his album Ellis in Wonderland. Originally, she wanted to do an album with bandleader Nelson Riddle after hearing his arrangements for Frank Sinatra's albums, particularly In the Wee Small Hours, but after hearing Ellis' version of "For All We Know", she wanted to record with him. When Holiday came to Townsend about the album, he was surprised:

Townsend got in touch with Ellis about the album. Ellis, having heard of Holiday's work throughout the 1930s and 1940s, was excited for the project, saying "I couldn't believe it...I didn't know she was aware of me."[2] Townsend arranged a meeting for both Holiday and Ellis to sign a contract with Columbia. Columbia provided an unlimited budget for the album. The musicians in the orchestra were paid $60 for the three sessions and Holiday was paid $150 per side in advanced. Townsend went on to set up the recording dates for late February 1958.

Content[edit]

When Holiday signed her contract for Columbia, the label looked at it as new beginning, for this was her return back to the label after sixteen years. During Holiday's time with Norman Granz' label, she revisited old material she had previously recorded and songs that were well known in her repertoire, such as "My Man", "Lover, Come Back to Me", "I Cover the Waterfront", "Them There Eyes", I Only Have Eyes for You" and others. Columbia wanted Holiday to do an album of songs she had never recorded before,[3] so 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. Also, unlike the bulk of Holiday's recordings with Norman Granz and her early years at Columbia in the 1930s and early 1940s, rather than in the setting of a jazz combo Holiday returns to the backdrop of full orchestral arrangements as done during her Decca years eight years earlier. She wanted the album to be in the same contemporary vein of Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald on her Songbooks series.

Ray Ellis made his arrangements of the songs to match Holiday's voice. By the mid to late 1950s, Holiday's voice changed drastically due to years of alcohol and drug abuse, altering its texture and gave it a fragile, raspy sound. Despite her voice's setback, she never lost the edge that had always made it so distinctive and was able to still use her style of phrasing that made her a popular jazz singer. Ray Ellis said of Holiday's voice:

Ellis used a forty-piece orchestra, complete with horns, strings, reeds and even a three piece choir. It would turn out to be Holiday's most expensive music production. Soloists on the album included Mel Davis, Urbie Green, and bebop trombone pioneer J.J. Johnson.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Penguin Guide to Jazz (3/4 stars)
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 2/5 stars[5]

Reaction to the album has been mixed. Holiday's voice had lost much of its upper range in her 40s, although she still retained her rhythmic phrasing. The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave the album a three-star rating of a possible four stars, but expressed a basic reservation about the album, describing it as "a voyeuristic look at a beaten woman."[6] The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide said "Lady in Satin presents the Lady overdressed. It's an album from the late Fifties, when much of Billie's punch was gone."[5]

However, trumpeter Buck Clayton preferred the work of the later Holiday to that of the younger woman that he had often worked with in the 1930s.[7] Ray Ellis said of the album in 1997:

I would say that the most emotional moment was her listening to the playback of "I'm a Fool to Want You". There were tears in her eyes...After we finished the album I went into the control room and listened to all the takes. I must admit I was unhappy with her performance, but I was just listening musically instead of emotionally. It wasn't until I heard the final mix a few weeks later that I realized how great her performance really was.[8]

Lady in Satin was reissued by Legacy Records on September 23, 1997, remastering using 20-bit technology with four bonus tracks. Reissue producer Phil Schaap located the unused master tape for the stereo version of "The End of A Love Affair," and included a stereo mix of the "I'm a Fool to Want You" take which had been used on the mono LP. Lady in Satin was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.[9]

Personnel[edit]

Performers and musicians

Track listing[edit]

Original LP mono CL 1157 Release[edit]

LP Side One

  1. "I'm a Fool to Want You" (Frank Sinatra, Joel Herron, Jack Wolf)  – 3:23
  2. "For Heaven's Sake" (Elise Bretton, Sherman Edwards, Donald Meyer)  – 3:26
  3. "You Don't Know What Love Is" (Gene DePaul, Don Raye)  – 3:48
  4. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" (Hoagy Carmichael)  – 2:59
  5. "For All We Know" (J. Fred Coots, Sam M. Lewis)  – 2:53
  6. "Violets for Your Furs" (Tom Adair, Matt Dennis)  – 3:24

LP Side Two

  1. "You've Changed" (Bill Carey, Carl T. Fischer)  – 3:17
  2. "It's Easy to Remember" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:01
  3. "But Beautiful" (w. Johnny Burke, m. Jimmy Van Heusen)  – 4:29
  4. "Glad to Be Unhappy" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:07
  5. "I'll Be Around" (Alec Wilder)  – 3:23
  6. "The End of a Love Affair" (Edward Redding)  – 4:46 [mono CL 1157 only]

Original LP stereo CS 8048 Release[edit]

LP Side One

  1. "I'm a Fool to Want You" (Frank Sinatra, Joel Herron, Jack Wolf)  – 3:23
  2. "For Heaven's Sake" (Elise Bretton, Sherman Edwards, Donald Meyer)  – 3:26
  3. "You Don't Know What Love Is" (Gene DePaul, Don Raye)  – 3:48
  4. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" (Hoagy Carmichael)  – 2:59
  5. "For All We Know" (J. Fred Coots, Sam M. Lewis)  – 2:53
  6. "Violets for Your Furs" (Tom Adair, Matt Dennis)  – 3:24

LP Side Two

  1. "You've Changed" (Bill Carey, Carl T. Fischer)  – 3:17
  2. "It's Easy to Remember" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:01
  3. "But Beautiful" (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)  – 4:29
  4. "Glad to Be Unhappy" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:07
  5. "I'll Be Around" (Alec Wilder)  – 3:23

1997 Legacy Records Reissue[edit]

  1. "I'm a Fool to Want You" (Frank Sinatra, Joel Herron, Jack Wolf)  – 3:23
  2. "For Heaven's Sake" (Elise Bretton, Sherman Edwards, Donald Meyer)  – 3:26
  3. "You Don't Know What Love Is" (Gene DePaul, Don Raye)  – 3:48
  4. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" (Hoagy Carmichael)  – 2:59
  5. "For All We Know" (J. Fred Coots, Sam M. Lewis)  – 2:53
  6. "Violets for Your Furs" (Tom Adair, Matt Dennis)  – 3:24
  7. "You've Changed" (Bill Carey, Carl T. Fischer)  – 3:17
  8. "It's Easy to Remember" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:01
  9. "But Beautiful" (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)  – 4:29
  10. "Glad to Be Unhappy" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:07
  11. "I'll Be Around" (Alec Wilder)  – 3:23
  12. "The End of a Love Affair" (Edward Redding)  – 4:46 [mono]
  13. "I'm a Fool to Want You" [take 3 stereo]  – 3:24
  14. "I'm a Fool to Want You" [take 2]  – 3:23
  15. "The End of a Love Affair" The Audio Story  – 9:49
  16. "The End of a Love Affair" [stereo]  – 4:46
  17. [Pause Track] - 0:06

The Centennial Edition[edit]

Lady in Satin: The Centennial Edition
Studio album by Billie Holiday
Released April 14, 2015
Recorded 19–21 February 1958
Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City, New York
Genre Vocal jazz
Length 2:47:01
Label Columbia
Producer Irving Townsend

Content[edit]

On April 14, 2015, Columbia Records released a 3CD set album called Lady in Satin: The Centennial Edition, a week after what would've been Billie Holiday's 100th birthday. Roughly seventy minutes worth of material - including thirteen complete tracks, incomplete tracks, studio chatter, breakdowns, false starts and warm ups are present on the album. Previously, all of it (except for those fragments without Billie Holiday) had been released by Michael Fontannes on his Kangourou/Masters of Jazz Label.[10]

Track listing[edit]

CD One
(tracks 1-12 are the songs that appeared on the original 1958 Lady in Satin release)

  1. "I'm a Fool to Want You" (Frank Sinatra, Joel Herron, Jack Wolf) – 3:23 [uses takes 2 & 3]
  2. "For Heaven's Sake" (Elise Bretton, Sherman Edwards, Donald Meyer) – 3:26 [uses take 2]
  3. "You Don't Know What Love Is" (Gene DePaul, Don Raye)  – 3:48 [uses take 4]
  4. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" (Hoagy Carmichael)  – 2:59 [uses take 6]
  5. "For All We Know" (J. Fred Coots, Sam M. Lewis)  – 2:53 [uses take 5]
  6. "Violets for Your Furs" (Tom Adair, Matt Dennis)  – 3:24 [uses take 7]
  7. "You've Changed" (Bill Carey, Carl T. Fischer)  – 3:17 [uses take 4]
  8. "It's Easy to Remember" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:01 [uses take 8]
  9. "But Beautiful" (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)  – 4:29 [uses take 2]
  10. "Glad to Be Unhappy" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)  – 4:07 [uses take 8]
  11. "I'll Be Around" (Alec Wilder)  – 3:23 [uses take 5]
  12. "The End of a Love Affair" (Edward Redding)  – 4:46 [stereo master – take 4 with vocal overdub take 8]
  13. "I'm a Fool to Want You" (mono master – take 3) - 3:25
  14. "The End Of A Love Affair" (mono master – take 4 with vocal overdub take 8) - 4:51
  15. "Fine and Mellow" (Billie Holiday) - 6:19 [studio recording that appeared originally on Columbia's 1957 The Sound of Jazz album]

CD Two
(February 19, 1958 session reels are tracks 1-4, February 20, 1958 session reels are tracks 5-13)

  1. You Don’t Know What Love Is (takes 1-3) - 5:20
  2. I’ll Be Around (takes 1 & 2) - 3:55
  3. I’ll Be Around (takes 3 & 4 plus inserts) - 6:28
  4. For Heaven’s Sake (take 1) - 3:55
  5. But Beautiful (take 1) - 1:01
  6. For All We Know (take 1) - 3:18
  7. For All We Know (take 2) - 3:09
  8. For All We Know (takes 3 & 4) - 3:42
  9. It’s Easy To Remember (takes 1 & 2) - 7:37
  10. It’s Easy To Remember (takes 3-7) - 4:23
  11. I’m A Fool To Want You (take 1) - 3:21
  12. I’m A Fool To Want You (takes 2 & 3) - 3:27
  13. The End Of a Love Affair (takes 1-4) - 8:09

CD Three
(February 21, 1958 session reels)

  1. The End Of A Love Affair (vocal overdub takes 1-4) 5:14
  2. The End Of A Love Affair (vocal overdub takes 5-7) 12:11
  3. Glad To Be Unhappy (takes 1 & 2) 2:06
  4. Glad To Be Unhappy (take 3) 4:16
  5. Glad To Be Unhappy (tales 4-7) 4:01
  6. You’ve Changed (takes 1-3) 3:14
  7. I Get Along Without You Very Well (takes 1 & 2) 0:54
  8. I Get Along Without You Very Well (takes 3 & 4) 3:58
  9. I Get Along Without You Very Well (take 5) 3:12
  10. Violets For Your Furs (takes 1-3) 2:55
  11. Violets For Your Furs (takes 4 & 5) 4:15
  12. Violets For Your Furs (take 6) 3:26

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Blackburn, Julia (2005). With Billie. New York: Vintage. p. 267.
  2. ^ Blackburn, Julia (2005). With Billie. New York: Vintage. p. 268
  3. ^ Townsend, Irving. Lady in Satin, Columbia: 1958, original liner notes
  4. ^ Blackburn, Julia (2005). With Billie. New York: Vintage. p. 270
  5. ^ a b Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 104. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  6. ^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006) [1992]. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th ed. ed.). New York: Penguin. p. 653. ISBN 0-14-102327-9. 
  7. ^ Schaap, Phil. Lady in Satin, Columbia Legacy: 1997, reissue liner notes, p. 15
  8. ^ Ellis, Ray. Lady in Satin, Columbia Legacy: 1997, reissue liner notes, p. 12
  9. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame
  10. ^ http://www.billieholiday.be/ Billie Holiday Masters of Jazz Volume 27