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Download Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth, by John Szwed Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Szwed Narrator: Karen Chilton Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Published in celebration of Holiday’s centenary, Billie Holiday is the first biography to focus on the singer’s extraordinary musical talent.

When Billie Holiday stepped into Columbia’s studios in November 1933, it marked the beginning of what is arguably the most remarkable and influential career in twentieth-century popular music. Her voice weathered countless shifts in public taste, and new reincarnations of her continue to arrive, most recently in the form of singers like Amy Winehouse and Adele.

Most of the writing on Holiday has focused on the tragic details of her life—her prostitution at the age of fourteen, her heroin addiction and alcoholism, her series of abusive relationships—or tried to correct the many fabrications of her autobiography. But now, Billie Holiday stays close to the music, to her performance style, and to the self she created and put into print—on record and on stage.

Drawing on a vast amount of new material that has surfaced in the last decade, critically acclaimed jazz writer John Szwed considers how her life inflected her art, her influences, her uncanny voice and rhythmic genius, a number of her signature songs, and her legacy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Szwed, the author of acclaimed studies of Miles Davis, Sun Ra and folklorist Alan Lomax, is at his best when excavating hidden stories behind some of the more durable pillars of the Holiday legend.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • RevelatorySzwed’s book is one of the most briskly revealing pieces of jazz biography that I’ve read.”

    New Yorker

  • “As with the best of Holiday’s music, this elegant and perceptive study is restrained, nuanced, and masterfully carried out.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 for Nonfiction
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