2015 is the centennial of two of the most important figures in American music and the history of New York. We took care of Frank Sinatra already on Alcohol Professor, so now it’s time to bow down to the woman he said was the most influential artist in his life and in modern American music history. Lady Day on Swing Street is a two part look on Alcohol Professor at the life and career of Billie Holiday, the Harlem Renaissance, and the rise and fall of Swing Street and Greenwich Village jazz clubs.
There are few moments more perfect than walking into a dimly lit old bar late at night and hearing a Billie Holiday song, either on the jukebox or being covered by the four-piece in the corner. “These Foolish Things” is practically custom made for sliding onto a stool and ordering an Old Fashioned as you prop your elbows up on the bar and think about lost loves and life’s regrets. Her discography is not composed entirely of anthems for the lonely, but few American artists seem to have captured the melancholy of 2am quite like the woman who would become known as Lady Day.