Eddie Heywood (featuring Billie Holiday): All of Me


All of Me


Billie Holiday (vocals) and Lester Young (tenor sax)


Lady Day & Pres 1937-41 (Frémeaux FA013)

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Billie Holiday (vocals), Lester Young (tenor sax), Lester 'Shad' Collins (trumpet), Eddie Barefield (alto sax), Eddie Heywood (piano), John Collins (guitar), Kenny Clarke (drums),

Leslie Johnakins (alto sax), Ted Sturgis (bass)


Composed by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons


Recorded: New York, March 21, 1941


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

On what was their final Columbia session together, Young was given only two brief solos on the sides selected for release. However, it was only because of the arbitrary limits of the ten-inch 78-rpm record that the magical take 3 of “All of Me” remained in Columbia’s vaults until the release of The Lester Young Story Volume 5 in 1980. It was too long – by some 30 seconds – to fit onto a ten-inch 78, and so was never released. In all probability it was a first cut and Holiday and Young are captured at their zenith, Young taking sixteen bars after Billie’s vocal, Heywood following with eight bars and Young returning for a final eight bars to lead back into Billie’s vocal.

The way both phrase had taken on a certain gravitas and beauty that neither would totally recapture. Heywood later said he was mesmerized by their performances on this number; indeed, the listener is abruptly brought back to reality at the end by the engineer’s admonition, “It’s a bit long.” “Yeah, I know,” responds Billie. “We’ll bring it up a little bit.” “It’s a half a minute long,” the disembodied voice persists. It was almost as if they knew their lives were about to follow separate trajectories and they we saying their goodbyes in the only way they know how – through music.

Reviewer: Stuart Nicholson

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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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