Southside Johnny Performing The Music Of Billie Holiday

@ Blue Note Jazz Club – Shows @ 8PM & 10:30PM (Doors @ 6PM & 9:45PM)

John Lyon, likely best known as Southside Johnny, the inimitable and hard-rockin’ frontman of his band of 40 plus years, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, fondly remembers hearing his parents record collection as a young child: Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson and Billie Holiday wafting up the stairs into his bedroom as he drifted off to sleep.

But he holds an especially dear place in his heart for Billie: “Billie Holiday’s voice is one of the more evocative memories from my childhood. My parents would come home from work and put on music. Mostly jazz, some jump blues, and even some old-fashioned low down blues. But after my brother Tom and I went to bed, they would put on Billie Holiday.”

“We had no heat upstairs, so we had to leave the door open to our bedroom, and that voice would float up with the warm air. I remember at first really liking the upbeat stuff she did. She sounded like she was having great fun with the band. But I was also moved by the deep sadness in her voice on the ballads. I didn’t understand it, I was only a child, but it moved me, and it still does. I hope you get some enjoyment out of this record. I loved making it.”

– Southside Johnny

Arranged and conducted by saxophonist John Isley, who also plays flute and tenor saxophone, “Detour Ahead: The Music of Billie Holiday” is a true homage to Southside Johnny’s enchantment with Billie and her music. Along with Isley, featured musicians on the record are guitarist Glenn Alexander, trumpeter Chris Anderson, and trombonist Neal Pawley. Augmenting this core group are some of New York’s finest players: Shawn Pelton on drums, Steve Count on bass, Ronnie Buttacavoli on flugelhorn and trumpet, Allen Won on flute, clarinet and alto saxophone, and Ken Hitchcock on alto flute, bass clarinet and baritone saxophone.

Isley’s arrangements pay respect to the poignancy and beauty of Billie’s original recordings, yet are firmly rooted in modern harmonies and arranging styles. “Detour Ahead: The Music of Billie Holiday” brings elements of jazz, blues and soul to bear, yet never strays far from its jazz roots. Southside Johnny’s voice is evocative of Billie’s heartbreak and yearning, yet are laced with humor and warmth; his blues harp playing is a sublime addition, acknowledging his roots while invoking the blues, and revealing his deep and heartfelt connection to Billie and her music.

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June 4, 2018
Blue Note Jazz Club