In 1956, Mike Wallace interviewed Billie Holiday for his program Night Beat.
WALLACE: Billie, why is it that so many jazz greats seem to die so early? Bix Beiderbecke, it happened, too, Fats Waller wasn’t too old; Charlie Parker . . .
HOLIDAY: Well, Mike, the only way I can answer that question is: we try to live one hundred days in one day. We try to please so many people . . . Like myself, I want to bend this note, and bend that note . . . Sing this way and sing that way and get all of the feeling, and eat all of the good foods, and travel all over—all in one day, and you can’t do—.
That last, unfinished sentence says it all, don’t you think?
(The interview excerpt is taken from “A Solo Long-Song: For Lady Day” by Leon Forrest, Callaloo, Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring 1993.)
[March 7, 2008]