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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




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BILLIE HOLIDAY

1935 – 1958

columbia jazz SMM5096242

 

 

1

Miss Brown To You

10

A Fine Romance

2

Easy Living

11

Mean To Me

3

These Foolish Things

12

Fine And Mellow

4

Some Other Spring

13

My Man

5

I Wished On The Moon

14

Easy To Love

6

For Heaven’s Sake

15

Pennies From Heaven

7

This Year’s Kisses

16

You’ve Changed

8

What a Little Moonlight Can Do

17

God Bless The Child

9

A Sailboat In The Moonlight

   

This compilation covers the last twenty-three years of the life and tempestuous career of ‘the’ acclaimed female vocalist who emerged in the 1930s – Billie Holiday. Unlike many female singers, who mature as the years roll on, the 30s was her peak period before drink and drugs began to take their toll. Thirteen of the tracks come from those early years. Having said that I was especially attracted to the 1958 version of You’ve Changed. Overall we also have the opportunity to hear a host of accompanying musicians whose collective names provide a who’s who of the finest in jazz.

Taking the popular title These Foolish Things, the outcome is typical of Holiday’s work in the 30s and her polished style and unique sense of timing are more evident here than on some of the other tracks. As expected, soloists Teddy Wilson, Harry Carney and Johnny Hodges give highly creditable accounts of themselves. A similar high standard is maintained throughout the disc.

No doubt the Billie Holiday specialists will already have most, if not all, of what there is here. For others this CD provides a very acceptable variety of songs performed by an artiste considered by many as the greatest female jazz singer of all time.

Jack Ashby

 



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