Musical Crossroads

Billie Holiday’s Masters

From the Collection

For a brief period prior to the widespread use of magnetic recording tape in the mid-1950s, recording sessions used 16-inch acetate discs, aluminum discs covered with a thin layer of acetate. Once the songs were selected, the “master takes” were transferred onto 16-inch master discs. This acetate is the master disc for Billie Holiday’s songs, “My Man,” “Lover Come Back to Me,” “Stormy Weather,” and “Yesterdays.”

This acetate disc came to the museum from the collection of Billie Holiday’s producer and Clef/Verve founder Norman Granz. These tracks were recorded in Los Angeles in 1952 and feature musicians Ray Brown, Barney Kessel, Oscar Peterson, Flip Phillips, and Charlie Shavers. They were used in the production of Holliday’s 78 RPM records and her 1953 album, An Evening with Billie Holiday on Clef and later reissued on Verve.

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