Greg Poppleton

27 February Phantom Dancer - Non-stop mix of swing & jazz from live 1920s-60s radio LISTEN

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30 January 2024

(Until 30 January)

Billie Holiday Inspired by Louis Armstrong | Phantom Dancer

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Billie Holiday was an American singer. Around 1927 she first heard the records of Louis Armstrong and she cited his “West End Blues” as an influence, saying the scat vocal duet with the clarinet was her favorite part. You can hear Louis Armstrong performing ‘West End Blues’ for her and dedicating ‘Kiss to Build a Dream On’ to her in a 1952 KCBS San Francisco broadcast in one of the videos on this page. Billie Holiday is your Phantom Dancer feature artist this week.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 30 January) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

BILLIE

As a young teenager, Holiday started singing in nightclubs in Harlem. She took her professional pseudonym from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, and Clarence Halliday, her probable father.

At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name “Halliday”, her father’s birth surname, but eventually changed it to “Holiday”, his performing name. The young singer teamed up with a neighbor, tenor saxophone player Kenneth Hollan. They were a team from 1929 to 1931, performing at clubs such as the Grey Dawn, Pod’s and Jerry’s on 133rd Street, and the Brooklyn Elks Club.

Benny Goodman recalled hearing Holiday in 1931 at the Bright Spot. As her reputation grew, she played in many clubs, including the Mexico’s and the Alhambra Bar and Grill, where she met Charles Linton, a vocalist who later worked with Chick Webb. It was also during this period that she connected with her father, who was playing in Fletcher Henderson’s band.

Late in 1932, 17-year-old Holiday replaced the singer Monette Moore at Covan’s, a club on West 132nd Street. Producer John Hammond, who loved Moore’s singing and had come to hear her, first heard Holiday there in early 1933.

Hammond arranged for Holiday to make her recording debut at age 18, in November 1933, with Benny Goodman. She recorded two songs: “Your Mother’s Son-In-Law” and “Riffin’ the Scotch”, the latter being her first hit.

“Son-in-Law” sold 300 copies, and “Riffin’ the Scotch”, released on November 11, sold 5,000 copies. Hammond was impressed by Holiday’s singing style and said of her, “Her singing almost changed my music tastes and my musical life, because she was the first girl singer I’d come across who actually sang like an improvising jazz genius.” Hammond compared Holiday favorably to Armstrong and said she had a good sense of lyric content at a young age.

In 1935, Holiday had a small role as a woman abused by her lover in uke Ellington’s musical short film Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life. She sang “Saddest Tale” in her scene.

HOLIDAY

1935 was also the year Holiday was signed to Brunswick by John Hammond to record pop tunes with pianist Teddy Wilson in the swing style for the growing jukebox trade. They were allowed to improvise on the material. Holiday’s improvisation of melody to fit the emotion was highly skillful.

Brunswick did not favor the recording session because producers wanted Holiday to sound more like Cleo Brown. However, after “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” was successful, the company began considering Holiday an artist in her own right.

Another frequent accompanist was tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who had been a boarder at her mother’s house in 1934 and with whom Holiday had a rapport. Young said, “I think you can hear that on some of the old records, you know. Some time I’d sit down and listen to ’em myself, and it sound like two of the same voices … or the same mind, or something like that.” Young nicknamed her “Lady Day”, and she called him “Prez”.

COUNT BASIE and ARTIE SHAW

Holiday had a brief stint as a big-band vocalist with Count Basie in 1937. The traveling conditions of the band were often poor; they performed many one-nighters in clubs, moving from city to city with little stability. Holiday chose the songs she sang and had a hand in the arrangements, choosing to portray her developing persona of a woman unlucky in love.

Basie became used to Holiday’s heavy involvement in the band. He said, “When she rehearsed with the band, it was really just a matter of getting her tunes like she wanted them, because she knew how she wanted to sound and you couldn’t tell her what to do.”

Holiday was unable to record in the studio with Basie, but she included many of his musicians in her recording sessions with Teddy Wilson.

Holiday found herself in direct competition with the popular singer Ella Fitzgerald. The two later became friends. Fitzgerald was the vocalist for the Chick Webb Band, which was in competition with the Basie band. On January 16, 1938, the same day that Benny Goodman performed his legendary Carnegie Hall jazz concert, the Basie and Webb bands had a battle at the Savoy Ballroom. Webb and Fitzgerald were declared winners by Metronome magazine, while DownBeat magazine pronounced Holiday and Basie the winners. Fitzgerald won a straw poll of the audience by a three-to-one margin.

By February 1938, Holiday was no longer singing for Basie. Various reasons have been given for why she was fired. Jimmy Rushing, Basie’s male vocalist, called her unprofessional.

Holiday was hired by Artie Shaw a month after being fired from the Count Basie Band. This association placed her among the first black women to work with a white orchestra, an unusual arrangement at that time.

This was also the first time a black female singer employed full-time toured the segregated U.S. South with a white bandleader.

Metronome reported that the addition of Holiday to Shaw’s band put it in the “top brackets”. Holiday could not sing as often during Shaw’s shows as she could in Basie’s; the repertoire was more instrumental, with fewer vocals.

Shaw admired Holiday’s singing in his band, saying she had a “remarkable ear” and a “remarkable sense of time”, her tenure with the band was nearing an end

By the late 1930s, Holiday had toured with Count Basie and Artie Shaw, scored a string of radio and retail hits with Teddy Wilson, and became an established artist in the recording industry. 

30 January PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE
Community Radio Network Show CRN #638

107.3 2SER Tuesday 30 January 2024
12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
7RPH Hobart Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Charlie Spivak
Star Dreams (theme) + I’m Always Chasing Rainbows
Charlie Spivak Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
1948
Golden Earrings
Charlie Spivak Orchestra (voc) Irene Daye
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
1948
You Are Never Away
Charlie Spivak Orchestra (voc) Tommy Mercer
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
1948
Three DuecesCharlie Spivak Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
1948
Set 2
1930s-40s Italian Swing
Se io fossi un Millionario
Pippo Barzizza Orchestra (voc) Ernesto Bonino
Comm Rec
Turin
1941
La Canzone del Boscaiola
Pippo Barzizza Orchestra (voc) Alberto Rabagliati and Trio Lescano
Comm Rec
Turin
1941
E’ quel fox trot
Pippo Barzizza Orchestra (voc) Trio Lescano

Comm Rec
Turin
1939
Non Hai Piu’ la Veste a Fiori Blu
Pippo Barzizza Orchestra (voc) Alberto Rabagliati and Band

Comm Rec
Turin
1946
Set 3
Billie Holiday
They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Billie Holiday (voc) Count Basie Orchestra
Aircheck
Savoy Ballroom NYC
30 Jun 1937
Billies’ Blues
Billie Holiday
‘Storyville’
WMEX Boston
Apr 1959 (her last broadcast)
Too Marvelous For Words
Billie Holiday
‘Storyville’
WMEX Boston
Apr 1959 (her last broadcast)
Lover Come Back to Me
Billie Holiday
‘Storyville’
WMEX Boston
Apr 1959 (her last broadcast)
Set 4
Just Jazz
Open + I’ve Got News For You
Woody Herman and the Herd (voc) Woody Herman
‘Just Jazz’
Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles
AFRS Hollywood
1949

Ain’t Gonna Wait
Woody Herman and the Herd (voc) Woody Herman
‘Just Jazz’
Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles
AFRS Hollywood
1949
Woody Herman and the Herd (tb) Bill Harris
‘Just Jazz’
Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles
AFRS Hollywood
1949
Four Brothers
Woody Herman and the Herd (voc) Woody Herman
‘Just Jazz’
Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles
AFRS Hollywood
1949
Set 5
Ray McKinley
Along With Me
Ray McKinley Orchestra (voc) Teddy Norman
‘One Night Stand’
Century Room
Hotel Commodore
NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
1946
Day by Day
Ray McKinley Orchestra (voc) Teddy Norman
‘One Night Stand’
Century Room
Hotel Commodore
NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
1946
Tuesday at 10 + Close
Ray McKinley Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Century Room
Hotel Commodore
NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
1946
Set 6
Duke Ellington
Solid Old Man
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Empire Hotel
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
Feb 1949
Singing in the Rain
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Empire Hotel
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
Feb 1949
Three Cent Stomp
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Empire Hotel
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
Feb 1949
Tulip or Turnip
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Empire Hotel
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
Feb 1949
Set 7
Louis Armstrong
I Never Knew
Louis Armstrong Orchestra (voc) Louis Armstrong
‘One Night Stand’
Dallas TX
AFRS Re-broadcast
17 Aug 1943
What’s the Good Word?
Louis Armstrong Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Dallas TX
AFRS Re-broadcast
17 Aug 1943
I’ve Got Plenty of Nothin’
Louis Armstrong Orchestra (voc) Louis Armstrong
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
1943
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
Louis Armstrong Orchestra (voc) Louis Armstrong
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
1943
Set 8
Artie Shaw
Nightmare (theme) + Out of Nowhere
Artie Shaw Orchestra
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Pennsylvania
WEAF NBC Red NYC
19 Oct 1939
Put That Down in WritingArtie Shaw Orchestra (voc) Tony Pastor
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Pennsylvania
WEAF NBC Red NYC
19 Oct 1939
In The Mood + Diga Diga Doo
Artie Shaw Orchestra
Blue Room
hotel Lincoln
WABC CBS NYC
20 Dec 1938
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