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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her Final Bow, 18 Dec. 2013
By 
Sordel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions (Audio CD)
This set is essentially the same as The Complete Verve Studio Master Takes set which, at time of writing, costs roughly four times the price. It loses the final 12 tracks from that set, and gains seven bonus/alternate takes, but it's basically the same track list, from the period when Billie Holiday was in decline, yet recording many of the greatest jazz standards.

This is a lot of music for the money (nearly six and a half hours jam packed into five discs), and it's quite nicely packaged as well, in one of those unwieldy foldouts that ends up with all the plastic trays forming up a "cross" shape on your floor or table. I can't say that this sort of packaging makes much sense to me, but it's going a step further than the "cardboard sleeves in a box" that you might expect at this price point.

The booklet is also better than you might expect, with quite a lot of detail, the original album covers and original album sleeve notes (reset so that they are readable). Nothing to complain about here.

I can't comment on the sound quality since I don't have comparative editions, but I find it perfectly acceptable. These recordings are some of the classics of vocal jazz and it's well worth owning them in some form. I certainly couldn't discourage anyone from buying them in this configuration, for the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Day's Later Years, 24 Dec. 2013
By 
R. S. Johnson (Southern England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions (Audio CD)
Maybe that wonderful voice wasn't quite what it was but this compilation shows that Billie hadn't lost the timing or the feeling for the songs.

Comprising 10 original LP's first issued on Clef or Verve (in recording order rather than release, I think) and some additional tracks, too

The LP's are

Billie Holiday
An Evening with Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday Sings
Lady Sings the Blues
Stay With Me
Music for Torching
Songs for Distingue Lovers
Body and Soul
Velvet Mood
All or Nothing at All

More than 6 hours of music, well remastered and the playing is exemplary and all at less than £20. A bargain
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREATEST JAZZ SINGER IN THE HISTORY OF RECORDED MUSIC, 3 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions (Audio CD)
LADY WAS THE GREATEST.NO OTHER SINGER COMES CLOSE TO HER EMOTIONAL INTENSITY AND PHRASING.HER VERVE RECORDINGS FROM THE 50S ARE HER BEST.IN HER SHORT LIFE THIS GENIUS RECORDED THE DEFINATIVE VERSIONS OF THE AMERICAN SONGBOOK THAT HAS NEVER AND NEVER WILL BE EQUALLED.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!, 28 Feb. 2015
By 
Ron World (North East England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions (Audio CD)
I bought this to replace my much played LP's and to obtain the other songs I didnt have. This is Billie Holiday as she should be heard. In a small band setting towards the end of her career when every heartache, every injustice ,every abuse, self induced or otherwise can be heard in her voice Not all torch songs by any means either. There are some legendary figures of Jazz featured here. Even if Billie holiday never uttered a note the Set would still be worth buying for the backing bands alone. The recorded sound quality absolutely fine. Clear but warm. Yes the recordings arnt perfect but its the same on the original vinyl own, so it entirely original to the recording sessions. A little too close to the mike perhaps? I dont care anyway. I will warn you though Some of these songs may break your heart....If you have one to break!
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5.0 out of 5 stars And I certainly wasn't disappointed. Although I prefer the younger Billie Holiday for ..., 29 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions (Audio CD)
I was already familiar with a lot of the tracks on this collection and wanted to have all of it in it's entirety. And I certainly wasn't disappointed. Although I prefer the younger Billie Holiday for her voice, as with those wonderful small group recordings of the 1930s these 1950s recordings have some of the richest sounding and highest calibre accompanists one can possibly hear. Miss Holiday was no slouch musically and despite the rigours of her life style and its effect on her vocals her innate skills as an interpreter of blues and the Great American songbook are just so wonderful to behold. Full marks must go to Masterworks for an excellent package that does the honours to a great artist and all those superb musicians that made all of these tracks so good to listen to.
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The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions
The Complete 1952-57 Small Group Studio Sessions by Billie Holiday (Audio CD - 2013)
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