Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth



Kirkus Best Books Of Selection For BiographyPublished In Celebration Of Holiday S Centenary, The First Biography To Focus On The Singer S Extraordinary Musical TalentWhen Billie Holiday Stepped Into Columbia S Studios In November , It Marked The Beginning Of What Is Arguably The Most Remarkable And Influential Career In Twentieth Century Popular Music Her Voice Weathered Countless Shifts In Public Taste, And New Reincarnations Of Her Continue To Arrive, Most Recently In The Form Of Singers Like Amy Winehouse And AdeleMost Of The Writing On Holiday Has Focused On The Tragic Details Of Her Life Her Prostitution At The Age Of Fourteen, Her Heroin Addiction And Alcoholism, Her Series Of Abusive Relationships Or Tried To Correct The Many Fabrications Of Her Autobiography But Now, Billie Holiday Stays Close To The Music, To Her Performance Style, And To The Self She Created And Put Into Print, On Record And On StageDrawing On A Vast Amount Of New Material That Has Surfaced In The Last Decade, Critically Acclaimed Jazz Writer John Szwed Considers How Her Life Inflected Her Art, Her Influences, Her Uncanny Voice And Rhythmic Genius, A Number Of Her Signature Songs, And Her LegacyBillie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth book, this is one of the most wanted John Szwed author readers around the world.

[EPUB] ✼ Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth Author John Szwed – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 240 pages
  • Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth
  • John Szwed
  • English
  • 10 November 2017
  • 0670014729

10 thoughts on “Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth

  1. says:

    oops It was actually the paperback version I read, but that s okay When my brain clears from flu fog, I ll be back to writeabout this book, but for now, I really, really enjoyed reading it It offers a number of insights not only into Holiday as an individual but also into her somewhat controversialLady Sings the Blues, into her music, and into the history of those who came before her musically At the same time, the author is savvy enough to note that some secrets still linger about oops It was actually the paperback version I read, but that s okay When my brain clears from flu fog, I ll be back to writeabout this book, but for now, I really, really enjoyed reading it It offers a number of insights not only into Holiday as an individual but also into her somewhat controversialLady Sings the Blues, into her music, and into the history of those who came before her musically At the same time, the author is savvy enough to note that some secrets still linger about her life, so anyone looking for a tell all sort of thing won t get it here I have loved Holiday s music forever, so for me this was definitely a must readsoon

  2. says:

    The concept of The Musician and the Myth was very intriguing, as most bios take a rather conventional approach In the average book focusing on a performer you get a chronological look at their private lives with a a dutiful glance at his or her career, and almost always they use the career as a way to further understand the print self But what about the public self What about the persona she created, her unique approach to music That was something I wanted to read Unfortunately, some of t The concept of The Musician and the Myth was very intriguing, as most bios take a rather conventional approach In the average book focusing on a performer you get a chronological look at their private lives with a a dutiful glance at his or her career, and almost always they use the career as a way to further understand the print self But what about the public self What about the persona she created, her unique approach to music That was something I wanted to read Unfortunately, some of the challenges inherent to this approach stunted my full appreciation of the concept, and I finished it thinking I would have enjoyed it muchif I was not the mere appreciator of Holiday s work that I was, butof a true fan who already knew the basics of her life and had a comprehensive knowledge of her recording career Granted, it is very difficult to communicate fully the impact a singer can have on an audience, and the how of their achieving that It almost demands a poetic, emotional approach, the style of a fiction writer Szwed s writing, while objective and honest, is overtly scholastic and dispassionate at times When you are trying to communicate the feel of a song without actually being able to play it for someone, you ve got to pull out all the stops You have to bring the senses into it as if you were tempting someone with a meal they d never see, let alone taste Barring that, a guide for the reader on where to access the available recordings of the performances being covered, would have been a great addition Also, the structure of the book doesn t allow for a strong sense of a narrative arc Perhaps if Szwed had bookended the career focused parts with small sections on the beginning and end of her life it might have had a stronger sense of story, which even non fiction needs to contain The time line does get very confusing, and it was difficult for this reader to understand exactly where I was in the story, and in Holiday s career at times.The introduction, and the chapters on the myth of Billie Holiday, which explore the writing of her memoir, are where this book excels And it s very illuminating to read later about the world of female singers, black and white, before Holiday arrived on the scene It allowed me to understand how she was influenced, how she differed from those before her, and how she altered forever, the expectations and understanding of, not just female performers, but of jazz itself

  3. says:

    A must read not only for Billie Holiday fans, but for anyone with even a passing interest in musical history Well written and meticulously researched, the author, John Szwed director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University knows his stuff, and disabuses the oft mistaken notion that Holiday was primarily a blues singer and not the masterful jazz singer that she actually was.He presents Holiday as an artist continually evolving, manipulating her voice and the musical notes she per A must read not only for Billie Holiday fans, but for anyone with even a passing interest in musical history Well written and meticulously researched, the author, John Szwed director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University knows his stuff, and disabuses the oft mistaken notion that Holiday was primarily a blues singer and not the masterful jazz singer that she actually was.He presents Holiday as an artist continually evolving, manipulating her voice and the musical notes she performed in a way that has rarely, if ever, been seen by any singer before or since Rather than focusing on her tragic history, which by now is well known, Szwed showcases her music instead, her raw talent, and the history of many of the songs she is best known for Body and Soul , God Bless the Child , and Strange Fruit , among others The story of Strange Fruit in particular, a song about lynching during the Jim Crow era, is a fascinating read in its own right, particularly because Holiday first sang it publicly in 1939, decades before the Civil Rights movement Published in conjunction with Miss Holiday s 100th birthday, this book deserves a wide readership, if only to correct some of the misunderstandings surrounding one of our national treasures Highly recommended

  4. says:

    Probably the best book I ve read about Billie Holiday and the genius of her musical talent Szwed takes the long view on Holiday, focusing his sights on what made her vocalizations so unique and so enduring, examining the music she made and the genres that surrounded that music Szwed deals with Holiday s personal story, tragically self destructive as it was, only in terms of how it affected her music Most heartbreaking were his descriptions of the last two albums she recorded While critics an Probably the best book I ve read about Billie Holiday and the genius of her musical talent Szwed takes the long view on Holiday, focusing his sights on what made her vocalizations so unique and so enduring, examining the music she made and the genres that surrounded that music Szwed deals with Holiday s personal story, tragically self destructive as it was, only in terms of how it affected her music Most heartbreaking were his descriptions of the last two albums she recorded While critics and biographers pan or ignore them, Szwed is able to see them in a different light The next to last album that Holiday recorded, Lady in Satin, was less than a year before the damage from years of alcohol and drug abuse prematurely ended the singer s life She was already in declining health and her voice reflected that Yet, Szwed points out that in spite of all the obstacles besetting Holiday, she retained her vocalization abilities and, in this one area of her life, she retained an incredible discipline that is hard to imagine given the physical shape she was in.Evenincredulous is Holiday s last recorded album, Last Recordings, released posthumously after her death in 1959 She was so sick by then, with her liver and heart failing rapidly, that she had to be held sitting upright in a chair by her secretary in short sessions which are reflected on the album, as many of the songs are faded by the studio engineers at the end because Holiday ran out of energy so quickly while recording the album Again, the irony of the fortitude and discipline that Holiday had for music is juxtaposed with her inability to shake the addictions that caused the organ failures that led to her death.For a music lover, the bulk of the discussion of this book on the story behind the music is a goldmine of information, not just about Holiday, but about the bigger picture of jazz, the blues, bebop, swing, and the pop music of the 1930 s, 1940 s, and 1950 s It s technical, but not inaccessible the technical sheds light on what it was that made Holiday unique in an illustrious group that included the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Waters, Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne, and Eartha Kitt

  5. says:

    Billie Holiday The Musician and the Myth by John Szwed is a free NetGalley ebook that I read while on a roadtrip to Chicago, because, what can I say, non fiction s my bag right now.A bloody awful book andthan a debate in print than a true novel It s basically written in thirds 1 3 These other books are not like my book.2 3 These singers are not like Billie Holiday.3 3 These songwriters did not write her songs.I insist and repeat, bloody awful.

  6. says:

    This book renewed my intrigue in Lady Day I loved learning about the descriptions of her personality sometimes rough, profane, caustic, and vengefulwitty, kind,and perceptive 107 Szwed doesn t deny that she had a drug addiction but he doesn t penalize her for her shortcomings It relieved me He focused on her legend and her musicianship, for which lovers of Lady Day ought to be grateful.

  7. says:

    Fact filled, informative biography of Billie Holiday which also provides excellent information about the evolution of blues, jazz, R B and other popular American music Better editing would have made this an evencompelling bio Fact filled, informative biography of Billie Holiday which also provides excellent information about the evolution of blues, jazz, RB and other popular American music Better editing would have made this an evencompelling bio

  8. says:

    Good review of her recorded work.

  9. says:

    It was okThe first section of the book was very interesting and kept my attention completely I feel like the second section of the book was like reading a boring dossier I could hardly keep my eyes open to read the last section of the book.

  10. says:

    This book ended up being a biography based on an autobiography written while she was still alive It was interesting in a few parts, but it was very drawn out and slow in the majority of it To be honest, it left me wanting to go read her original autobiography rather than finishing this book I routinely found myself thinking that and feeling sad that I had so much of this book to dredge through to get to it If you re a Billy Holiday nut, it might be worth finding out a few new facts Otherwis This book ended up being a biography based on an autobiography written while she was still alive It was interesting in a few parts, but it was very drawn out and slow in the majority of it To be honest, it left me wanting to go read her original autobiography rather than finishing this book I routinely found myself thinking that and feeling sad that I had so much of this book to dredge through to get to it If you re a Billy Holiday nut, it might be worth finding out a few new facts Otherwise, skip it and read Lady Sings the Blues

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