Billie Holiday: A Sailboat in the Moonlight


A Sailboat in the Moonlight


Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra


Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944 (Columbia/Legacy CXX 85470)

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Billie Holiday (vocals), Lester Young (tenor sax), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Edmond Hall (clarinet), Freddie Green (guitar), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums),

James Sherman (piano)


Composed by Guy Lombardo


Recorded: New York, June 15, 1937


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

The electricity evident in “Me, Myself and I” is hot-wired into “Sailboat” -- both recorded at the same session -- as the give-and-take of a Holiday and Young “duet” again takes center stage, reflecting creative music making at its highest as they play off one another. Listen to how Young anticipates Holiday’s phrasing before she sings “what a perfect setting,” or the way she responds to Young’s high F-sharp (a yelp of joy?) in the final middle eight with a treatise of perfect swing, sitting on top of the beat and capturing the very essence of jazz. It is truly remarkable how such spontaneity and highly attenuated musical rapport still has the capacity to enthrall and speak to us down the years as fresh and vital as the day it was recorded.

Reviewer: Stuart Nicholson

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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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