Billie Holiday: What's New


What's New


Billie Holiday (vocals)


Music for Torching (Verve MGV 8026)

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Billie Holiday (vocals), Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet), Benny Carter (alto sax), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), John Simmons (bass), Larry Bunker (drums).

Composed by Bob Haggart & Johnny Burke


Recorded: Los Angeles, August 25, 1955


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Do you prefer to take your Holiday earlier or later? Hard choice . . . The early Billie Holiday sings with more pop song panache and surface polish. Take a later Holiday, and the terrain is rougher, the emotional landscape dangerous but perhaps even more alluring. I tend to give the highest marks to the early collaborations between Billie and Lester Young, musical gems that will delight listeners a hundred years hence. But you could make a good case for the later Holiday on the basis of this poignant ballad. "What's New" was a perfect vehicle for Billie Holiday, circa 1955, a love song meant to be sung by a world-weary woman looking back on her past. Lady Day delivers a raw and beautiful performance, full of dark shadows. Benny Carter's fine sax solo, a sweeter take on the changes, offers just the right contrast.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

If you liked this track, also check out

Billie Holiday: Good Morning Heartache
Billie Holiday: Mean to Me
Billie Holiday: I Loves You Porgy

Related Links

Billie Holiday: Rare and Live by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Billie Holiday Performances by Stuart Nicholson
Billie Holiday by Stuart Nicholson (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)

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