All of Me – Billie Holiday & Lester Young

After an even more stressful day than usual I decided to have a quick look at Youtube before going home. That’s how I found this rare and priceless gem. It’s a wonderful performance of All of Me featuring one of the greatest combinations of musical talent in Jazz history, Billie Holiday and Lester Young, but it’s a discarded track that was never released on record. “Why would anyone discard such a masterpiece?”, I hear you ask. Well, that’s simply because it ran over the three minutes that could fit onto an old-style 78rpm disk. The reason it is too long is that there’s more than the usual ration of Lester Young’s tenor saxophone, in the form of a superb extended solo that is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. This is as perfect a performance as you could hope to hear, but it is brought back down to Earth at the end by the recording engineer whose only comment from the box when the exquisite music subsides is “It’s a bit long”…




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