Song:Lady Sings The Blues
Album:Herbie Nichols Trio
Pianist Herbie Nichols is forgotten because he only recorded a handful of albums for Blue Note in the 50s and then he died prematurely. His music is worth checking out. Lady Sings The Blues is his best known composition. He was born Jan. 3, 1919 in the San Juan Hill section of Manhattan in New York City. His parents were from the Caribbean. Nichols began playing piano at age nine and he studied at the Community College of New York. After serving in World War II, Nichols played for several bands on the emerging bebop scene. But to make a living as a musician, he was a member of the Dixieland band Rex Stewart and his Dixielanders. Nichols wrote the music for Lady Sings The Blues and then he gave it to Billie Holiday and she wrote the lyrics. He did not appear on her 1956 recording of the song. But Nichols did get a deal with Blue Note Records. The 1956 album Herbie Nichols Trio was his third and final album on Blue Note with Al McKibbon on bass and Max Roach on drums. After one more album on Bethlehem, Nichols was diagnosed with leukemia and he died on Apr. 12, 1963 at age 44. Blue Note has released some comps but all are out of print. Herbie Nichols Trio is available on CD. Jazz fans should check it out. Jazz musicians know about Nichols. In the 90s, Ben Allison led the tribute band The Herbie Nichols Project. Here's a video for Lady Sings The Blues by Herbie Nichols Trio.