Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life. Raped in her youth by a drunk (Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holliday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (Richard Pryor). She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics. The film takes several liberties with the 44-year existence of "Lady Day." Among the Billie Holiday standards performed by Ross are "My Man," "I Cried for You," "Lover Man," "Them There Eyes," and the title song.
Ray Bryant's first solo piano album is rightfully considered a classic. Bryant, at the time thought of as a young modern traditionalist, has always felt perfectly at home playing the blues. He performs five original and diverse blues on this set along with "Lover Man" and "Rockin' Chair," showing that he really never needed a bassist or a drummer to sound like a complete band. This Prestige album was reissued in the Original Jazz Classics but thus far only as an LP; highly recommended in any case.
When the Austrian Wolf logo decided to pay tribute to pianist Sammy Price's prolific legacy as both leader and sideman, they really did it up right….
Over-glossed R&B tracks, heavy doses of keyboards and drum programming are an ideal way to make albums for the pop charts, but for B.B. King, they are tools of disaster. Lyrically and vocally the album holds up rather well. …