Teddy Wilson (featuring Billie Holiday): I'll Get By


I’ll Get By


Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra (featuring Billie Holiday)


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

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Teddy Wilson (piano), Billie Holiday (vocals), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Buster Bailey (clarinet), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Lester Young (tenor sax), Alan Reuss (guitar), Artie Bernstein (bass), Cozy Cole (drums).

Composed by Fred E. Ahlert and Roy Turk


Recorded: New York, May 11, 1937


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

One of the high spots of recorded jazz is the Holiday-Young collaborations. Today these recordings are remembered for the brilliance of Holiday’s singing and the inspirational creativity she inspired in Young, but it is often overlooked that Young’s highly regarded work with Count Basie’s band, with whom he was then working, was based on half a dozen basic chord structures, mainly the blues and “I Got Rhythm” contrafacts. However, with Holiday he had the opportunity stretch his wings and address different chord structures in a variety of keys. Here, for example, is a 28-bar, rather than 32-bar, song form with an ABAC structure (instead of the more usual AABA form), where the B and C sections are six bars instead of the usual eight. Singer and saxophonist relish the challenge on this awkward vehicle for improvisation. Billie shines with one of her most economical vocals, essentially based on just six notes, with two forays to the bottom of her range. At one point she sings no fewer than twenty-six repeated A’s, which depend for their impact on her fantastic rhythmic placement. There was genius abroad in the air.

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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