Billie Holiday is famous for two things: her amazing vocal talents, and her tragic downward spiral due to drugs and alcohol.
Lester Young was a famous swing-era tenor saxophone player who never quite adapted to the new bebop and other post-war jazz stylings, yet had his best commercial successes in the late 1940’s before beginning his own alcohol fueled spiral in the 50’s.
Billie & Lester began working together in 1939 and made a series of wonderful recordings together before all recording was stopped for a number of reasons for a few years. Those records are at the pinnacle of both artists collections, and showed that their was a special connection the two shared.
In later years, as both artists saw their health failing and fortunes fading, one thing remained: together they could make beautiful music, as this 1957 live recording of ‘Fine and Mellow’ shows.