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Watch: Billie Holiday collection

Billie Holiday collection.

Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Bigger Billie Holiday boxes have been released, but if you’re looking for a collection that doesn’t break the bank but spans her career AND packs a multimedia punch, look no further. Among these 42 tracks are sides cut for every label (Brunswick, Okeh, Commodore, Columbia, Capitol, Decca, Aladdin, Clef and Verve) that recorded Billie, including all the classics: Lover Man; God Bless the Child; Strange Fruit; Don’t Explain; Good Morning Heartache , and more. And the accompanying DVD includes eigh Ultimate Collection Billie Holiday

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Ultimate Collection Billie Holiday

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2 Responses to Watch: Billie Holiday collection

  • J. Lund "jazzbrat" says:
    116 of 116 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The ultimate starting point (collectors take notice, too)!, April 12, 2005
    By 
    J. Lund “jazzbrat” (SoCal, USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Ultimate Collection Billie Holiday (Audio CD)
    It seems as if every year or two we’re looking at a new and improved Billie Holiday anthology, and THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION is the latest and probably best Lady Day introduction to date. As others have mentioned, this set covers her entire career via 42 tracks on two CDs. The set is skimpy on Billie’s first decade (albeit we do get such gems as “God Bless The Child”). However, you can easily balance that out by one additional purchase: the highly-recommended 2-CD set LADY DAY: THE BEST OF BILLIE HOLIDAY on Sony, which has 38 key tracks from the early years (only three of which are repeated here). Several key tracks from her 1939-1944 Commodore sessions (including “Strange Fruit”) and the 1942 cut “Trav’lin’ Light” (with Paul Whiteman) offer further proof of this set’s wide reach in covering her career.

    Being that the set is produced in collaboration with the Decca and Verve labels, the last fifteen years of Billie’s career get excellent coverage. There’s a certain point in the 1950s where some Lady Day fans mourn the perceived wear-and-tear in her voice, while others such as myself celebrate the deeper emotive power and increasingly inventive melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic chances she takes with classic pop tunes. Even so, by the final track “I’m A Fool To Want You” (from the much-debated 1958 LADY IN SATIN album) it’s difficult for most listeners to not feel 1) pushed away by her fading voice and 2) pulled back in by the communicative power of her heart-on-sleeve phrasing (one error in the set’s booklet: this cut is not from her last session).

    The DVD has an effective mix of seen and unseen footage. The 1934 and 1946 movie appearances have been issued in their entirety: here we get some highlights. The key bit of material that will attract Billie Holiday collectors is some newly-uncovered 1956 footage from the STARS OF JAZZ television show (three songs), and there is a 1958 appearance, too. The most famous Lady Day clip (1957’s all-star jam on “Fine And Mellow”) is seen in its entirety. The DVD also has a clip of Billie’s key influences Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong, plus lots of other extras that are interesting but mostly not essential. Although some excellent Billie footage didn’t make the cut, there’s still enough of value on the DVD to recommend it. Add the timeless, extraordinary music on the CDs, and you’ve got a great introduction to arguably the greatest jazz vocalist of all-time.

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  • Blues Bro "bluesbro" says:
    41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    KUDOS!!!, April 8, 2005
    By 
    Blues Bro “bluesbro” (Lakewood, Colorado USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: Ultimate Collection Billie Holiday (Audio CD)
    So many great things about this collection its hard to know where to start. This is the first collection to include tracks from ALL the record companies that Billie recorder, not even the Ken Burns compilation touched so much ground. There are tracks that are unavailable in CD until now, like ‘Detour Ahead’, a classic song. The remastering, specially for the Blue Note and Verve catalog is breathtaking, the best these sides have sounded ever. Package is beatiful, this is one of those Sound + Vision collections, like the Hendrix at Isle of Wight. It includes a COMPLETE sessionography, every session, dates, musicians, places of every song released commercially. It includes a timeline, which is a biography, year by year of the life of lady day, with dozens and dozens of pictures and scans of documents and letters. Wow!! I was really impressed. The DVD also includes a bunch of audio feautures, like interview with Billie, and people who knew Billie. There is a great segment of Billie rehearsing with Jimi Rowles that is pure gold. Live tracks with Basie. The video clips are not remastered, some of them look and sound preety rough. There are more videos of Billie out there, I wish they had included more. The CD’s are too heavy on the Verve material, some more Columbia sides with Lester Young could have been better, and where is ‘Autumm in New York’? Still, this is a five star collection, recommended both for newbies and long time fans.

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