Lady Sings the Blues (Holiday & Nichols): Louise Howlett (vocals), Albert Combrink (Piano), Charles Lazar (Double Bass)

Recorded Live at Alexander Bar, Cape Town

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Lady Billie pic

More about the Song:


“Lady Sings the Blues” was co-written by jazz singer Billie Holiday, and jazz pianist Herbie Nichols. It is the title song to her 1956 album, released on Clef/Verve Records (MGC 721/Verve MV 2047). The song was also chosen to be the title of the 1956 autobiography by Holiday and author William Dufty, and the 1972 movie starring Diana Ross as Holiday.

Jazz pianist and composer Herbie Nichols at work in the studio

Jazz pianist and composer Herbie Nichols at work in the studio

American Jazz Pianist and Composer Herbie Nichols (3 January 1919 – 12 April 1963) grew up in Harlem. Obscure during his lifetime, he is now highly regarded by many musicians and critics. During much of his life he was forced to take work as a Dixieland musician instead of playing the more adventurous kind of jazz he preferred, but he is best known today for his own highly original compositions, program music that combines bop, Dixieland, and West Indian music with harmonies derived from Erik Satie and Béla Bartók. Indeed it is the specific colour of the harmonies that makes this song so delightful: there is a spiciness in the chords that gives the vocal line that added zing.

Mary Lou Williams and Billie Holiday recorded his songs on the coveted  Blue Note label in the middle 50’s. Sadly Leukemia cut short his career in New York at the age of 44, when he was just beginning to get the recognition he deserved.

Download Free Sheet Music of Lady Sings the Blues by Herbie Nichols and Billie Holiday:

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