Forget for a moment that The Best of Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday was tied into the release of the superb box set, Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944), thereby offering a bit of advertisement to the full-fledged set. That doesn't matter -- even if there was never a box set, this would have been a welcome addition to Billie Holiday's catalog, since it's the first concise, yet comprehensive, introduction to her groundbreaking, perhaps greatest, recordings. Over the course of two discs, nearly all of her finest moments for Columbia are chronicled (along with a handful of rarities to entice the curious to the big box), providing a welcome summary for serious listeners on a budget. Prior to this release, the Columbia recordings were available either individually, as part of the Quintessential series, or on haphazard single-disc collections. This provides a logical, thorough overview of her acknowledged peak at Columbia (meaning that there's nothing from Lady in Satin) and that may be enough for serious listeners who don't have the money or inclination to delve into the full box.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2