Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday 1
Billie Holiday 2

I mentioned my friend, Manek Daver, in one of my "Writer's Journey" blogposts, among other things a jazz aficionado with a collection of albums dating back to the 1940s, many now collector’s items, practically impossible to find. In 1992 and 1994 he released two collections of the album covers with captions explicating the stories behind the covers. One, of Billie Holiday’s last album, is particularly poignant. The photographer was Herman Leonard and what he said about the photograph is at least as important as the photograph itself: “In 1954, Norman Granz [premier jazz record producer and concert promoter] asked me to shoot a cover for her recording session in New York; but when she arrived, I was so appalled at her appearance—so drawn and pathetic—that I said to Norman, ‘I can’t shoot that for a cover—it’s too tragic.’ He pushed me into the studio saying, ‘Get in there and shoot! It may be your last chance!’ and it was.”

Recent Posts