Billie Holiday's Influence On Jazz

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In 1915, a woman who would shape the meaning of jazz was born. Her name was Billie Holiday. Her life was marked by tumult and poverty; however, through the many hardships she faced, she remained strong and determined. Today, she is regarded as one of the best jazz vocalists of all time. Her renowned voice was distinct due to her abundant use different tones and with her ever changing range. In addition, Billie took the pain that she experienced throughout her life and conveyed it through song. Influential to jazz, Billie Holiday’s life and her music have continued to impact music and artists even now. Billie Holiday was born on April 7, 1915 and given the name Eleanora Fagan. However, just a few years into her life, she changed her name to what she is known as now- Billie Holiday. Though she was born in Philadelphia, she actually grew up in Baltimore. Her parents were Sadie Fagan and jazz guitarist Clarence Holiday (Kliment, par 1). Her father chose music over having a family and so Sadie and her child had to fend for themselves. As a young child, Billie …show more content…

She took advantage of every opportunity she was given to sing and performed in local amateur shows at movie houses as well as in a number of the storefront churches located throughout black neighborhoods (Greene, pg 9). In 1928, Billie’s mother took her to New York City. It was there where her renditions of famous songs like "Riffin' the Scotch" and "Your Mother's Son-in-Law" established her as a prodigious singer (Billie Holiday, par 2). The biography, “Billie Holiday,” gives accounts her different career accomplishments and collaborations:
In 1933, she was spotted performing in Harlem by the critic and producer John Hammond, who brought her to Columbia Records, where she recorded classic sessions with such jazz greats as pianist Teddy Wilson and tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who gave Holiday her nickname, "Lady Day" (Kliment, par

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