Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles
Billie Holiday has been an icon for so long it’s difficult to recall that she was once a young singer turning out hit singles. This four-CD collection culls 80 of the 153 songs from Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944). Holiday once said that she wanted to sing like a horn player and on these early sides you can hear her vocal and melodic flexibility as she plays with phrasing, weaving around the beat with amazing agility. While best known for her sad songs, Holiday was completely at home with swinging, up-tempo tunes and more than half of these songs show her in a cheerful, humorous mode. If you have The Complete Billie Holiday, you probably don’t need this, but if you’re just getting acquainted with her work, this is a good a place as any to start.