Monday, February 6, 2012

Jimmy Rowles Meets Billie Holiday

Below is an an excerpt from Michael Sheldon's excellent liner notes to the Jimmy Rowles' "Trio '77/'78" album. What follows is Rowles' description of one of his first encounters with Billie Holiday.

"I was at the Trouville about a week, and I had just met Billie," remembered Rowles. "We had just come from rehearsal, and I didn't know what to make of her, whether she came out here to fuck Lester Young, or what she did. One night I was sitting at the end of the bar and called her - 'Lady, can I buy you a taste?' So she sits down besides me, I bought her a gin and Coke. Can you imagine drinking that shit? I don't know what to talk to her about. So I think back to when I was listening to Andy Kirk's band...So I remembered a tenor player with Kirk, and for some funny reason I ask her about Dick Wilson. She put her drink down. 'Did I ever know Dick Wilson?' Now this is the first time I talked to her alone. 'I'm gonna tell you something. I was going with Freddie Green, and I was faithful to that motherfucker, but every time I saw Dick Wilson, I just had to take him out and fuck him.' The first time I'd heard anything come out from a chick like that. Crazy chick. She had me then. What can you do after that? You have to love her. Too much chick.'"

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