New York City, January 27, 1938. A song of no special merit with undistinguished lyrics, but what Billie and her colleagues do with it is beyond remarkable. We are in danger of forgetting the music in favor of salacious personal archeology, so I offer two explorations of beauty for your consideration.
“If I may,” in the words of Joe Thomas, to celebrate Billie on April 7.
and another take (the YouTube source is at much lower volume for seven silly reasons). Incidentally, if these videos are not accessible in your part of the world, a little searching will solve the problem, for there are multiple versions posted:
In “Self-Reliance,” Emerson writes, “The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to seek to interpose helps.” He was speaking about those who would presume to explain God to the congregation, but I take it as encouragement to let Billie Holiday, Jo Jones, Walter Page, Teddy Wilson, Freddie Green, Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Benny Morton sing their own songs to you without any explication from me. All the answers, and all the joy are there for those willing to listen seriously.
May your happiness increase!