Lady Sings the Blues was taken from sessions taped during 1954 and 1956. It was released simultaneously with her ghostwritten autobiography of Lady Sings the Blues.
Taken from sessions taped during 1954–56, Lady Sings the Blues features Holiday backed by tenor saxophonist Paul Quinichette, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, pianist Wynton Kelly, and guitarist Kenny Burrell. Though Holiday's voice had arguably deteriorated by the 1950s, the album is well regarded – in a 1956 review, Down Beat awarded the album 5 out of 5 stars, and had this to say about the co-current book:
On November 10, 1956, Holiday appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall in front of a sold-out crowd. The show was planned to commemorate the edition of her autobiography, some paragraphs being read during the performance.
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