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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Vocal Jazz - Released December 12, 2006 | Fremeaux Heritage

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc Jazz Magazine
The Quintessence New York - Los Angeles: 1935-1944 captures a number of classics recorded by Billie Holiday between 1935 and 1944. These 36 tracks include such standards as "Strange Fruit," "Them There Eyes," "God Bless the Child," and "Lover Man." While the Frémeaux & Associés releases are recommended to casual fans, it would be easier to locate The Ultimate Collection on Hip-O. ~ Al Campbell
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Clef Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 22, 2014 | BnF Collection

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 3, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released October 22, 2001 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Verve

One of the first box sets for completists only, 1993's ten-disc The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve 1945-1959 was considered nearly a necessity by anyone interested in jazz vocals. Verve returned to the catalog 12 years later with a much tighter, much smarter collection: The Complete Verve Studio Master Takes. Encompassing six discs, the set skips the many live performances and the few alternate takes included on the previous box. Overall, the work compares well to her earlier material for Columbia. Although the old familiar cracks rarely appeared in her voice during her Columbia, Decca, and Commodore years, the song selections weren't all gold, and the needs of that era (the 1930s and '40s) dictated that each side end around the three-minute mark. With Verve during the '50s, Holiday recorded nothing but standards in the studio, and indulged in many longer performances that often resulted in relaxed, methodical songs. Aside from Holiday's mastery of vocal jazz as a form, the practice also allowed for some lengthy, perfectly loving solos by musicians including Ben Webster ("Ill Wind") Harry "Sweets" Edison ("I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "Day in, Day Out"), Benny Carter ("I Get a Kick Out of You," "Prelude to a Kiss"), and Charlie Shavers ("I Wished on the Moon"). If the previous "Complete on Verve" set was an expensive bauble that listeners rarely returned to, this "Complete Verve" is a much brighter proposition. (The accordion-like packaging, however, leaves much to be desired.) ~ John Bush
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Jazz - Released November 1, 2012 | Academia Royal

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 27, 2010 | Fremeaux Heritage

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2015 | Commodore

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 25, 2012 | Efor, S.L

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 3, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Verve

Although many of Billie Holiday's recordings for Commodore and Decca are often overlooked -- at least in comparison to the songs that bookend her career (for Columbia and Verve) -- they include some of her best work, beginning at the end of the '30s with "Strange Fruit" and stretching to the end of the '40s with "God Bless the Child." In 1939, Billie Holiday was a jazz sensation without a hit record. She gained that hit record, and began her journey to musical immortality, when her label Columbia refused to record "Strange Fruit," and jazz fan Milt Gabler welcomed her to his aficionado label, Commodore. Gabler recorded Holiday often over the next ten years, both at Commodore and through his work at Decca in the mid-to late '40s. While on Commodore, Holiday focused on downcast ballads, including "I Cover the Waterfront" and "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" (dubbed "loser" songs by Gabler), but she also excelled with warm and affectionate material too, "Embraceable You" and "On the Sunny Side of the Street." Regardless of the material, her backing consisted of small groups usually led by a pair of saloon-sound maestros: Doc Cheatham on trumpet and Eddie Heywood on piano. That sound was in for a switch when Holiday moved to Decca, however, beginning with another big hit, "Lover Man," a pop ballad with the full crossover treatment -- strings and all. (Gabler had no compunction about false notions of purity, and he happily recorded Holiday with strings and backing choruses whenever the song demanded it.) Even more than her work for Commodore, Holiday's work for Decca was melancholy and resigned in the extreme, with sterling treatments of yet more loser songs: "Don't Explain," "Good Morning Heartache," "You Better Go Now," and "What Is This Thing Called Love." Individually, the songs are excellent, and as a package, The Complete Commodore & Decca Masters can hardly be beat. It's a splendid accompaniment to similar sets devoted to Billie Holiday's Columbia and Verve output, and while completists will bemoan the lack of the many alternate takes -- most of the Commodore sides have two alternate takes for each master recording, available elsewhere -- this is all the war-years Billie Holiday one could hope for. ~ John Bush
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Decca

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Vocal Jazz - Released November 14, 2015 | Landmark

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Vocal Jazz - Released August 8, 2014 | BnF Collection

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released October 10, 2007 | BDMUSIC