Billie, 2000

Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Holiday was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills. Throughout her adult life she struggled with a serious heroin addiction that impacted her career, severely at times, but even toward the end of her life, her unique vocal delivery amazed millions. 

Commenting on her final concert at Carnegie Hall, The critic Nat Hentoff of Down Beat magazine wrote: “ The beat flowed in her uniquely sinuous, supple way of moving the story along; the words became her own experiences; and coursing through it all was Lady's sound – a texture simultaneously steel-edged and yet soft inside; a voice that was almost unbearably wise in disillusion and yet still childlike, again at the centre. The audience was hers from before she sang, greeting her and saying good-bye with heavy, loving applause. And at one time, the musicians too applauded. It was a night when Billie was on top, undeniably the best and most honest jazz singer alive.” 

Raimondi has captured the amazing balance of fragility, power and pathos with this sculpture. There is both a stillness and a flowing femininity in its tall, elegant form.

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