Chronological Recordings of Billie Holiday

Most of the information of this chronological study comes from Jack Millar’s disco:

“A Discography of Billie Holiday” available on the site : which is considered as the reference in the whole world.

Unfortunately, Jack died in July 1999 and his discography stopped from that date.I have just updated some new information from the unpublished tracks which were released since.

The study concerns all known recordings of Billie, in studios, radios, TV, concerts, interviews…The study does not take into accounr the material which was not released, even though date, location and content are known;as an example, the Olympia concert of 12/11/58 was recorded and is the hands of Daliel Filipacchi who does not wish to release it.

Every year, new tracks are discovered sometimes in unexpected places such as the two tracks of Billie with the Young brothers, Lester and Lee, recorded in June 42 and recently found in the garage of Jimmy Rowles !

But beware imitations … In the 70’s American label AJ released a LP claiming:” Exclusive. Do’nt be late, never before released 1939 Lady Day/ Les Young(sic)”. As a matter of fact it was an imitation by Little Jimmy Scott..

Totally, 663 different recordings of Billie are available, representing all together 40 hours of music and 48’40” of video.

Billie sang 306 different melodies: 214 once, 42 twice and 50 three times or more.

The four tracks more often edited are: Billie’s blues ( 22 versions) Them There eyes ( 18 v) All of me ( 14 v) and Fine and Mellow( 13 v).

Concerning the musicians, at least 720 participated to Billie’s recordings.

Teddy Wilson ( 36 ), Lester Young ( 29 ), Ben Webster ( 24 ) Cozy Cole ( 22 ) and Jo Jones( 20 ) are the champions.

Billie never sang in duo except 2 tracks with Louis (Decca 31/9/49) and post mortem with Tony Bennett (COL).

435 labels have produced at least one recording of Billie.

For instance 60 labels have produced 447 78’RPM between 1933 and 1952 while Billie was living and under contract with major companies!!

Commodore, Verve, Decca have all released boxes with all the material including alternate takes, chats etc..

The 12 CD’s Box “Sound Hills Records 9312” from Japan contains to few exceptions all the material recorded outside studios.

The collection “Masters of Jazz” from France presently at Vol 16 is the best in quality for studio recordings up to Dec 48.

Black Label 8028, Baldwin 308, Kangourou 270236, Jazz Unlimited 2015, Jazz all stars 3010, King Jazz 172&173 contain rare and exclusive tracks. They are sometimes hard to find. If you have them, keep them preciously.