Southside Johnny to perform at Billie Holiday tribute concert

Southside Johnny will be among the performers at a Billie Holiday tribute at the Apollo Theatre, May 16.

Southside Johnny, who is working on an album of Billie Holiday songs, will perform at a concert paying tribute to the great jazz singer: “Homage to Billie Holiday,” taking place at the Apollo Theatre in New York, May 16.

Other confirmed performers include Bettye LaVette, William Bell, Lizz Wright, Deva Mahal. Rachael Price (of Lake Street Dive) and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Proceeds will go to the Harlem Eat Up! Foundation.

For information, visit musicof.org/billieholiday.

No release date has been announced yet for the tribute album.

Southside — who has covered one of Holiday’s signature songs, “God Bless the Child,” in concert — has often talked about her influence on him.

“I grew up listening to Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing and the Teddy Wilson Orchestra with Billie Holiday,” he told JazzTimes in 2008. “(My parents) would come home from work and they wouldn’t put on Mantovani, they would put on Billie Holiday. I remember lying in bed when this haunting voice would come up the stairs. It really does affect you when you’re young.”

This will be Southside’s second album devoted to the songs of a single artist. In 2008, he teamed with LaBamba’s Big Band to release Grapefruit Moon: The Songs of Tom Waits.

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