This CD cover image released by Sony Legacy shows "The Centennial Collection," by Billie Holiday. (AP Photo/Sony Legacy)
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The odds were stacked against Eleanora Fagan, who was born to unwed teenage parents in Philadelphia on April 7, 1915 . But she would become perhaps the most influential jazz singer ever, Billie Holiday, whose centennial is being celebrated with new albums honoring her legacy. Holiday likened her voice to a horn, and her inventive phrasing and sense of swing enabled her to seamlessly mesh her vocals with the instrumentals.Jose James describes Holiday as his "musical mother".James is supported by a top-flight rhythm section – with pianist Jason Moran, bassist John Pattitucci and drummer Eric Harland – who respect the tradition while adding modern touches, playing mostly acoustic arrangements that highlight but never overwhelm the vocals.
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