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the definitive account
on 18 August 2010
clarke's "wishing on the moon" is a superb account of the life of billie. sympathetic but not fawning, understanding but not afraid to point out her deep failings as a human being - some quite extraordinary poor judgements are highlighted by the author.
it is rather dense but this is unavoidable when ranging through the harlem club scene and its remarkable musicians, through the situation in the recording business in the early 40's and when everywhere the complexities of billies psyche are under examination.
clarke also generously points to other written works that would be of interest to the jazz buff. this book really sets the whole thing straight about who really loved billie (the few) and who used her (the many) but never does it shower pity on her, as so many books, articles, record sleeves and TV biogs have. a habit that weakens her legacy, in my view.
she is the greatest jazz singer of them all. this book shows you why.