Hear Pops’ influence on Billie

The jazz bug bit young Billie when she heard Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith on the Victrola at the Baltimore brothel where she worked as a towel girl (or a prostitute, depending on whom you believe). In this NPR podcast, Phil Schaap, curator of Jazz at Lincoln Center, speeds up Billie’s voice and slows down Armstrong’s to show his influence on her vocal style.

I’ve always detected Armstrong’s influence most in Billie’s rendition of Moonlight in Vermont. What do you think?

Lady and Pops performed together in the movie New Orleans. So as not to give blacks props for creating jazz, neither of the jazz icons was cast as a professional musician. Billie played a maid. She was none too pleased.

One Response to “Hear Pops’ influence on Billie”

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