Billie Holiday has been the victim of a good deal of dangerous adoration.  She was copied by other singers during her lifetime and it has only increased mightily since her death in 1959.  Emerson’s idea that “imitation is suicide” has never taken root with them.

So when a singer launches into FINE AND MELLOW, my usual reaction is to look for a hiding place, because in Billie’s case, what passes for homage is often toxic flattery.  Many of her admirers have often caught only the most superficial aspects of her style: the feline growl, the behind-the-beat phrasing that often sounds as if a battery needs charging.  Choosing the Doomed Heroin Madonna, they forget the joy she embodied.

But I am eagerly anticipating a performance of Billie’s music this coming Friday, May 15, 2015 — because I know the singer and the musicians are both respectful and true to their own essential selves.  The singer is Miss Ida Blue, someone I’ve come to admire and love for her heated work with the Yerba Buena Stompers, and a wonderful band of New Yorkers who know what swing is: Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Jay Rattman, Dan Block, reeds; Conal Fowkes, piano; John Gill, guitar; Brian Nalepka, string bass; Kevin Dorn, drums.  Billie and the Basie-ites, but here and now.  I can hear it now: a congenial group delivering their own thoughtful evocations of “such beautiful music.”

I suspect the theme for this evening will be less DON’T EXPLAIN and more GETTING SOME FUN OUT OF LIFE, and that suits me perfectly.

The show is at Joe’s Pub, and the doors open at 11 PM.  Details here.

And while you’re leisurely getting your way to Friday, let this ring in your ears:

May your happiness increase!

3 responses to “MISS IDA PROMISES SWING AND FEELING (Joe’s Pub, May 15, 2015)

  1. miss ida blue

    Michael! thank you for the push- you really are a mensch. one thing- the date of the show is 5/15- not 5/18. whoopsie!

    love love love m

    miss ida blue http://www.missidablue.com <–check facebook.com/missidablue <–like twitter @missidablue

  2. I fixed the post — so sorry, that’s what comes of having only half my coffee while blogging — but the old one is out in cyberspace. I will issue an official retraction! Love and see you then, Michael

  3. Don "Zoot" Conner

    Let me wipe the tears from my sad-glad eyes.Billie was my favorite jazz person of all time.Nice group,with a great solos from Pres,Teddy and Roy.I’m always reminded that Lester’s obbligatos were priceless and unmatched.Nice post,Michael.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s