Billie Holiday to be celebrated

Above, Bennie Wallace performs. The veteran jazz musician will return to Greenwich Library to honor Billie Holiday.

Above, Bennie Wallace performs. The veteran jazz musician will return to Greenwich Library to honor Billie Holiday.

Enjoy ‘easy living’ and celebrate the life and music of Billie Holiday on Oct. 11 and 12 when the Greenwich Library and BackCountry Jazz team up once again to present two events to honor the singer in the library’s Cole Auditorium.

Billie Holiday was one of the true giants of jazz and an immensely influential vocalist. Her distinctive, behind the beat phrasing has been appropriated by legions of jazz singers, but the emotional impact of her own recordings remains unique. Although her life was beset by tragedy, she has left a luminous recorded legacy, the library said. The weekend celebration will kick off with Billie Holiday: Sensational Lady, a special Friends Friday Film presentation on Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. This 57-minute film, originally produced by the BBC in 2001, is a highly regarded and authoritative look at the turbulent life of “Lady Day,” one of the 20th Century’s greatest singers and includes performance footage and interviews with friends and fellow musicians.

Then, on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. the library and BackCountry Jazz will present Billie Holiday: a Celebration, a concert with an all-star ensemble performing the music of Billie Holiday. Just as Ms. Holiday’s music was created in company with jazz icons such as Lester Young, Teddy Wilson, Count Basie and Artie Shaw, the concert will feature some of today’s most celebrated jazz musicians: trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Donald Vega, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Victor Lewis, guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, vocalists Malou Beauvoir and Carla Cook under the direction of tenor saxophone master Bennie Wallace.

This series is made possible through the support of the Dalio Foundation, Inc., the Greenwich Library Board of Trustees and contributions by donors. This series is free and open to all, but seating in the Cole Auditorium is limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Doors will open at 30 minutes prior to each event.

For details, contact David Waring at 203-622-7917 or visit

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