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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent buy, especially for the collector, 26 Jan 2002
By 
This review is from: Lady Day - The Complete Billie Holiday (1933 - 1944) (Audio CD)
This is the most complete set of songs from Billie Holiday from the 1933 - 1944 period that I have ever seen. I thought I had all the songs of Billie Holiday recorded in this period, but to my big surprize I found in this set at least 29 tracks that were never released before on LP or CD.
The quality of the re-mastered tracks is also excellent. In my opinion this set is a must for every serious collector of Billie Holiday songs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The woman who invented microphone singing, 8 May 2005
By 
Pieter Egriega (Macclesfield, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lady Day - The Complete Billie Holiday (1933 - 1944) (Audio CD)
Before Billie Holiday, music was disconnected from today. I do not recognise the thoughts and feelings of Bessie Smith, Al Jolson, Caruso etc....but then this woman, Billie Holiday came along and seduced the microphone...Her first recordings were Mother's Son in Law and Riffin the Scotch featured on Disc One of this incredible complilation....... OK she isn't seducing on the first two...she's whooping with joy...she's singing from the bottom of her heart...and her melodies comes skidding out like birds fluttering into the sky...but then within a couple of recordings we get the essential Billie Holiday, singing the blues with a phrasing that defined Jazz for the 1930's and continued on thereafter for 70 years to the present day.Get this album if you sing, get this album if you play jazz or populatr music and listen to what every major star has heard and adapted from Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee, through, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson to Sting and Bono....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great tribute to a great singer, 20 Nov 2001
This review is from: Lady Day: Best of (Audio CD)
This is the essential recordings with Billie Holiday and especially the first years of recording do reveal perhaps the most special of blues singers. The later years show a voice that has seen it all and has perhaps lost in radiant beauty but on the other hand there is a vibrancy that is difficult to surpass
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best available intro, 30 April 2006
By 
Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lady Day: Best of (Audio CD)
There are many, many Billie Holiday compilations of her early (and most agree best) recordings. This 2 CD set, cherrypicked from a complete box set of that period, is probably the best introduction currently available. Sound quality is clearer than the earlier "Quintessential" series, although it's not the very best: the late John RT Davies remastered tracks for a no-longer-available Holiday compilation entitled All of Me to accompany an edition of the magazine Jazz Greats; some of the tracks on Lady Day sound overbright by comparison.

But this is a well-chosen selection, although be warned that so many recordings of Billie Holiday at her springtime best are classics that you may well be tempted to explore further.

If you are bewildered by the range of what's on offer out there, Holiday's recordings recordings fall into three broad periods: early recordings with small, sympathetic jazz groups (the cream of which is represented here); middle period recordings with the voice in good form but often with fuller, more arranged backing, even strings (the sublime piano-and-bass Porgy is a rare exception); then finally the long, dying fall where, even when working again with simpatico jazzers, the voice is pretty much a croak. This can suit some songs of resignation (like I Didn't Know What Time It Was) but really, the best of Billie Holiday is to be found in the 30s/40s on this double CD.

If it is obtainable at a reasonable price, the double CD Billie Holiday and Lester Young Complete Recordings can be recommended as an alternative. Sound quality is pretty good on that. And the cheaply priced JSP box set Away From Base of recordings by Basie sidemen has about forty five Holiday (or Teddy Wilson with Billie Holiday) recordings plus many other sides by Mildred Bailey etc. If you're looking for a good Billie Holiday compilation beware as there are many CDs out there of these public domain recordings and sound processing varies considerably.
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Lady Day - The Complete Billie Holiday (1933 - 1944)
Lady Day - The Complete Billie Holiday (1933 - 1944) by Billie Holiday (Audio CD - 2001)
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