Against the backdrop of the Blues, Swing Era, Boogie Woogie and Ragtime, the decade following the Great Depression was a fireball of political and social issues. New York Jazz clubs on 52nd St., (“The Street,”) hosted some of the greatest performers of all time – Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and an endless list of pioneers whose artistry and fight for America’s music continues on today. They have left us a legacy on recording that the rest of us can only dream about. This show celebrates the period from 1939–1949; a decade that hosted one of the leading ladies of America’s Music – Billie Holiday – her life in story and song. For it was “Lady Day” who had that unique way with a lyric. She became the lyric, and audiences in the 1930’s had the time to listen to her story unfold. Centering around her stay in New York’s controversial nightclub, Café Society, and emphasizing her collaborations with the most influential Swing Bands and jazz musicians in the business, it was her performances of “Strange Fruit” that ultimately helped to re-define the rest of her life, thus making her “the voice of black people.”
Joined by pianist Carlton Holmes , vocalist Rosemary George will also sing from the Billie Holiday Songbook, bringing the lyrics and heart of a New York that once was and is no longer.
Baruch Performing Arts Center, Engelman Recital Hall, New York (2014)