For the first time: a CD-box spanning over Billie Holidays whole career 1933 to 1959. Here's her orginal releases from Colombia, Brunswick, Bluebird, OKeh, Commondore, Harmony, V-Disc, Decca, Aladdin, Clef, Verve and finaly MGM. 323 songs in approximately 17 hours music packed as 8 dubble-hardpaper-covers in a handsome box. Also included is a booklet with a filling , biography written by one Anthony Baldwin and with the recordingsfacts for each song (dates, musicians and locations).
I'm not sure if it's remastered. It says on the cover: "Mastering by Studio 101" whatever that means. But to me it sounds very good. Very clear in the voice and instuments with a solid bass to support.
What we don't get is the big quantities of alternative takes, liverarities, previously unreleased tracks and studiotalk that boxes like "Lady Day - The Complete Billie Holiday on Colombia" or "The Complete Verve Studio Master Takes" offers. So for completists this box maybe isn't enogh but otherwise it's a splendid and historical adventure and what an insanely generous bargain!
I have heard bits of Billie Holiday before, but have never had the opportunity to hear the body of her work in chronological sequence, in pristine (for the recording technology) sound quality, and the impact on me has been profound. I have read those who have held Billie Holiday to be one of the greatest artists to have lived, and now for the first time I can appreciate how they can come to that view. This is music that is impeccable, even a pot boiler of a song can be transformed by Billie Holiday's ability to live the lyrics and expose the emotion behind the story, and the solos that accompany her are equally tasteful structured inventive and sublime. I have rarely bought a collection of music that has moved and impressed me as much as this collection. The booklet that accompanies the collection is informative and adds to the overall excellence of the package. For the price this is an unbelievable bargain, and I can recommend anyone who has had a passing interest in Billie Holiday, the swing era, jazz singing, and the history of jazz to snap it up, you will not be disappointed
A fabulous bargain, enough for several lifetimes of study and enjoyment.
Covers the full range of Holiday's output, from the playful, lithe early Columbia recordings of the 1930's, the more measured Decca output of the 1940's, through to the 1950's Verve small-group work, with the likes of Oscar Peterson and Ben Webster.
I already own much of this work in various forms, and the sound quality in this box can stand tall with the best of the Columbia and Verve remasters.
A useful booklet too - my only minor niggle would be the lack of personnel info on the cd sleeves themselves means that you need to check musicians in the accompanying booklet instead. But this is a carmudgeonly gripe in the face of such lavish riches...!
This box was issued last year and I have only just heard about it. I like it because you get all the labels for the period 1933 to 1959 and the sound quality is excellent throughout. There are an incredible 322 songs plus a brief interview across 15 CDs. The price is amazing really as not that long ago you would have paid ten times the price for such a comprehensive set. It is fascinating to hear the voice develop and then change with life's turmoil of events culminating in her early demise in July 1959. A wonderful collection that is surely a must have for Billie Holiday fans.
AS A YOUNG MAN I HAD MOST OF THESE TRACKS ON RECORD.THIS SET WITH ALL TRACKS NOW IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN IS THE COMPLETE LADY DAY .COLUMBIA.DECCA AND VERVE RECORDINGS ARE INCLUDED TOGETHER WITH HER RARE ALADDIN SIDES WITH THE SENSATIONAL ROCKY MOUNTAIN BLUES WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE LADY DAY TRACKS.