Benny goodman

A gripping portrait: Billie reviewed

This documentary about Billie Holiday is transfixing. Not just because it’s about Billie Holiday — I am not into jazz yet her version of ‘Strange Fruit’ is obviously incredible — but for the previously unheard audio tapes recorded by Linda Lipnack Kuehl in the 1970s with the people who knew her. This includes, for instance, Billie’s cousin, John Fagan, who chucklingly says he pimped her out as a child — ‘girls started young’ — and that women who ‘step out of line’ like to be knocked about and are proud of having a black eye as it shows ‘someone loves them’. Or it’s a band member recalling how Billie had