Billie Holiday

Standards: Great Songs/Great Performances

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A brief, half-hour look at Billie Holiday's incomparable way with a classic song, Standards: Great Songs/Great Performances is arranged chronologically, beginning with her 1944 take on "I'll Be Seeing You," the great WWII chestnut, and progressing all the way to 1959's "All the Way," a string-laden ballad from her last year of life. Billie Holiday transformed nearly every shopworn standard she strayed across, and the compilers chose wisely (but briefly) in concentrating on tender balladry that never quite descends into torch song territory. Aside from the first two songs, all come from her Verve years in the '50s, when her voice was drying up but her interpretive powers peaked, and it's readily audible in every line. Buyers won't find any notes or recording information (at least the composers were included), but such information is readily available elsewhere.

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