Teddy Wilson (featuring Billie Holiday): What a Little Moonlight Can Do


What a Little Moonlight Can Do


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), Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Benny Goodman (clarinet), Ben Webster (tenor sax), John Kirby (bass), Cozy Cole (drums),

John Trueheart (guitar)


Composed by Harry M. Woods


Recorded: New York, July 2, 1935


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

In June 1935, John Hammond approached Brunswick and secured a 12-month contract guaranteeing one session a month built around pianist Teddy Wilson. Hammond was to act as producer for the series, primarily aimed at the fast expanding coin-operated music-machine business. For their first session, Hammond pulled out all the stops to assemble a genuine all-star ensemble, even persuading Goodman to cut short rehearsals with his own big band for their first out-of-town booking in Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theatre. Goodman’s contribution turned out to be so inspired he helped make this one of the finest Billie Holiday-Teddy Wilson sessions. It opens with what effectively is the Goodman trio – after a 4-bar intro by Wilson, Goodman states the 32-bar theme in the chalumeau register, then launches into a genuinely hot chorus that leads into Billie’s suave vocal. Riveting stuff – indeed, Wilson would later say, “That session was never, never surpassed. It may have been equaled, but never surpassed.”

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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