Free admission (all visitors, all hours)
92Y announces a celebration and exploration of Billie Holiday’s peerless artistry and influence with a multidisciplinary festival featuring music, film and conversation in November and December, with additional events to be announced in 2021. “BILLIE HOLIDAY: REACHING FOR THE MOON–An Exploration and Celebration” begins on Sunday, November 22 with a free exclusive screening of Emmy-nominated director James Erskine’s new documentary “BILLIE,” days ahead of its theatrical and virtual release. The screening will be followed by a live online Q&A with Erskine and executive producer Michele Smith, Vice President of Estate and Legacy Brand Management at Concord, and manager of the Billie Holiday Estate.
WBGO’s Rhonda Hamilton hosts a free listening party on Saturday, December 5 and on Sunday, December 6 the celebration continues with a concert from 92Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall featuring acclaimed vocalists Catherine Russell and Veronica Swift, and a quartet of stellar musicians— Emmet Cohen, Tivon Pennicott, Yasushi Nakamura and Kyle Pool.
Schedule of Events
Exclusive Film Screening and Live Q&A | BILLIE
Sun, Nov 22, 1 pm ET, FREE with registration – here
BILLIE draws upon hundreds of newly unearthed interviews conducted in the 1970s by late journalist and to-be Holiday biographer Linda Lipnack Kuehl with jazz luminaries—including Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Charles Mingus and Sylvia Syms—with Holiday’s friends and lovers, even with the FBI agents who kept her under surveillance. The film is rich with archival film and photos, with key footage colorized and brought to life as never before. Raw and unflinching, BILLIE captures an untold story of exploitation, racism, addiction and politics, and offers a rare look at the tumultuous and tragically brief life of the woman behind one of music’s most influential artists. A live Q&A with director James Erskine and executive producer Michele Smith, Vice President of Estate and Legacy Brand Management at Concord, and manager of the Billie Holiday Estate, follows the screening. Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment.
The documentary can be streamed in the US only, and for 48 hours after the start time. The Q&A can be accessed anywhere in the world.
BILLIE HOLIDAY ONLINE LISTENING PARTY
Sat, Dec 5, 2 pm ET, FREE with registration – here
Join us for a free online listening party sharing and exploring Billie Holiday’s most essential recordings. Rhonda Hamilton from WBGO – the jazz mecca The New York Times called “arguably the best jazz station in the world” – leads listeners through seminal Holiday tracks, from her early 1930s Brunswick recordings through the album many consider her masterpiece, 1959’s Lady in Satin . Reflections on Billie’s key collaborators—Lester Young, Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and others— accompany insights into one of the most extraordinary discographies in music.
BILLIE HOLIDAY: REACHING FOR THE MOON
A Concert Celebration
Sun, Dec 6, 3 pm ET, $15, tix here
From the stage of 92Y’s concert hall, a celebration of one of the most distinctive and influential artists of all time. Two captivating vocalists, Grammy Award-winning jazz veteran Catherine Russell and sensational 26-year-old rising star Veronica Swift join the Emmet Cohen Trio for a concert paying tribute to Billie Holiday’s artistry with the songs indelibly associated with her. Three-time Grammy Award winner Tivon Pennicott joins on tenor sax for numbers including several spotlighting the Billie Holiday/Lester Young partnership that resulted in some of the most unforgettable recordings of Billie’s career. “Lover Man,” “Easy Living,” “Travelin’ Light,” “God Bless the Child,” “Fine and Mellow”—join us for these and others, as we celebrate a jazz icon.
Catherine Russell, vocals • Veronica Swift, vocals • The Emmet Cohen Trio
(Emmet Cohen, piano • Yasushi Nakamura, bass • Kyle Pool, drums)
Tivon Pennicott, tenor sax