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Vocal Jazz - Released December 12, 2006 | Fremeaux Heritage

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc Jazzman

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Clef Records


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

Hi-Res Booklet

Jazz - Released December 22, 2014 | BnF Collection


Jazz - Released November 6, 2009 | Verve Reissues

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 /TiVo

Jazz - Released August 12, 1994 | Verve Reissues

Billie Holiday is predominant among jazz singers. Frank Sinatra said of her, "She was and remains my biggest influence." Sinatra points to the way Holiday could make a song her own. Her dusky, smoky voice conveys more about love and heartache in one syllable than most other singers in any genre will convey in a lifetime. This album is a collection of recordings from the '50s for the Verve and Clef labels. It's a late-night dream for the nights you can't sleep, thinkin' about the love that got away. Holiday is accompanied by some of the music's best players: Ben Webster (king of the big, breathy tenor sax tone), Benny Carter (alto sax), and Jimmy Rowles (one of the most graceful pianists ever). Her take on "Body and Soul" could melt the hardest heart, and imagine yourself at the end of your figurative rope with "Ill Wind." (The latter has great blues-shaded guitar by Barney Kessel, who himself was an influence on rock guitarist Pete Townsend.) A fine introduction to Holiday's twilight years. © TiVo

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


Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Clef Records


Jazz - Released August 8, 2014 | BnF Collection


Jazz - Released April 11, 1994 | Epm

Volume 6 of the Masterpieces series brings together Billie Holiday’s recordings from between 1935 and 1940, most of them with her trusty pianist Teddy Wilson. At the time, Lady Day who was beginning to gain popularity, was not yet the superstar she would later become but her genius was already starting to show in these moving archives. In standards such as These Foolish Things, Night & Day and Summertime, her unique timbre already carries her inner ills and great maturity. And the way she improvises to convey her emotions is totally revolutionary. A highlight of this album is Strange Fruits, which would later become one of the flagship songs of her repertoire, “strange fruits” symbolizing the bodies of black people hanging from trees in an America plagued by racism and segregation. Utterly moving. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Vocal Jazz - Released June 1, 1958 | Columbia - Legacy


Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Verve


Vocal Jazz - Released September 27, 2010 | Fremeaux Heritage

Billie Holiday often stated that she styled her vocal phrasing to echo the sound of a jazz horn, so it should be no surprise that she found the perfect duet partner in tenor sax player Lester Young. Lady Day and Pres (they bestowed the nicknames on each other) recorded some 60 sides together between 1937 and 1946, many if not all of which have to be considered classics. This three-disc set collects everything the pair did, including alternate takes, and the best tracks are truly revelatory. Given the obvious musical connection on display in these sides, it is telling that both Holiday and Young died only four months apart in 1959. Apparently the world just couldn't handle one without the other. © Steve Leggett /TiVo

Pop - Released October 2, 2012 | TPX


Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve Reissues


Vocal Jazz - Released October 26, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy


Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Verve Reissues


Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve Reissues


Vocal Jazz - Released October 10, 2007 | BDMUSIC