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Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Anthology at a Very Attractive Price, 31 May 2011
This review is from: Four Classic Albums Plus (Body And Soul / Billie Holiday At Jazz At The Philharmonic / Music For Torching / Velvet Mood) (Audio CD)
This anthology of some of Billie Holiday's recordings - mainly for Norman Granz - made between 1946 and 1957 has been well remastered and is available at a very attractive price. However it is not arranged in chronological order and, also, some very inferior performances have been included.

The first disc begins with eight tracks taken from the sessions with Ben Webster she taped between January 3rd and 9th 1957. These tacks are among Billie's finest from the Granz years and will leave any collector who doesn't have them want the remainder which include what is arguably the greatest version of 'One For My Baby' ever made.

Then follow five tracks recorded 'live' at the 1957 Newport Festival. These are amongst her worst - she sounds tired and ill - and one wonders why they were ever issued in the first place.

The first disc is completed with the eight tracks originally issued on a 10" LP containing some of Billie's 1945-7 Jazz at the Philharmonic performances. Recorded by Granz whilst she was still under contract to Decca, these show her in fine voice.

The two albums on the second disc - 'Music for Torching' and 'Velvet Mood' - were recorded between 23rd and 25th August 1955. The backing group is superb with some wonderful solos; especially by Benny Carter. Billie is at the top of her latter-day form and her interpretations of these sixteen standards remain unsurpassed.

The final track is a superb performance of 'Fine and Mellow' recorded by Columbia during the rehearsals for the 'Sound of Jazz' TV programme in December 1957. Backed by, amongst others, the tenor saxes of Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, and Lester Young, Billie sounds wonderful. A pity, though, the TV soundtrack wasn't used as this is even finer!

All in all, an excellent anthology but one which could have been even better had the dissapointing Newport tracks been substituted by some of the much better live Holiday recordings from the same period.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Apr 2013 17:37:46 BDT
thanks for your honest and insightful review, very helpful
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Review Details

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Reviewer

J. Gibbons
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: London, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 273