This CD re-issue combines tracks from two Billie Holiday Clef LPs (BILLIE HOLIDAY SINGS and SOLITUDE), and four bonus tracks from the same time period.
Personnel: Billie Holiday (vocals); Flip Phillips (tenor saxophone); Charlie Shavers (trumpet); Oscar Peterson (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Alvin Stoller (drums).
Producer: Norman Granz.
Compilation producer: Michael Lang.
Recorded in Los Angeles, California in 1952. Originally released on Clef (118, 690). Includes liner notes by Vincent Pelote.
Digitally remastered by Suha Gur (Polygram Studios).
Cut right at the beginning of the LP era, SOLITUDE is the first and best of many "recitals" Billie Holiday recorded for Norman Granz's Verve label. Coming off the large orchestra Decca recordings of the late '40s, these small group sessions with trumpeter Charlie Shavers inaugurate Holiday's late period, the voice beginning to deteriorate but her artistry deepening in response. The lonely, even bleak sound she projects perfectly captures a special New York feeling. The heartbreak is palpable on "Autumn In New York," represented here by both an LP and a scratchy 78 version. Not that the album is ultimately a downer. From the very beginning, Billie seems inspired by small improvised settings, and her jaunty versions of "Blue Moon" and " I Only Have Eyes For You" are solid proof here of her indomitable musical spirit.