Taking a break from Keith Jarrett's recent solo 4 CD "Multitude of Angels" release which has been on repeat play for nearly 2 weeks now since I picked it up in JB Hifi cheaper than the US Amazon download price. Incidentally if you've a relative who's a Jarrett fan, and there are plenty of us out there, Xmas is sorted, believe me, but it's nowhere on the Tube so I can't share it.
Anyway you might want to argue with this clip's regular designation as the apogee of super groups but you'd be hard pressed to find a "higher" lineup, I read that Ben Webster, who takes the first solo, is the only non user in the band. It's from a famous broadcast called "The Sound Of Jazz" from 57 and has been called the most emotionally poignant performance in all of Jazz. The lineup is stellar, besides Webster, it features Coleman Hawkins, Gerry Mulligan and Roy Eldridge and for the non jazz fan it rarely gets better than that. Unless you add arguably the greatest of them all, Lester Young, the second soloist and six months from death.
Lester and Billy were one of the great partnerships but they'd had a falling out and hadn't spoken to each other for years. For context Billy and Lester, who made innovative understatement an artform in an era of excess, had been spiritual and musical partners, Billy had lived with Lester's family for an extended period and they made several of their greatest recordings together. But that was years before this and the falling out.They apparently avoided eye contact during rehearsals but Lester came on and did what he did, but only as Lester could, and Billy just dug it, you can feel it and see it. Noone really knows if they were ever lovers but this clip has been cited as evidence for the defence.
Billy is just wonderful here, and let's be honest, she wasn't always at this stage in her career. She was a serious user who had been playing in shitty bands and her voice, which famously only had a one octave range at the best of times, is shot to pieces but she lays it out there, she couldn't let Lester down. She was only 42 but she had less than 2 years left.
As for the band, it was "Anything for Billy".
If you haven't heard it, do yourself a favour.