Billie Holiday

Day In, Day Out

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Another installment in Hear Music's noteworthy Opus Collection line of jazz performers, Day In, Day Out is a compilation of works primarily from the latter end of Billie Holiday's life. Her voice was just beginning to wear down by the point of the bulk of these recordings, but her phrasing and instinct were still completely intact. The result is almost an amplification of the emotion that she's so well known for displaying, as the vocal quality itself seems to join in on her bemoaning of life's hardships. The first two tracks of the album hail from the mid- to late '40s and her time with Decca. Beyond the opening pair, all other tracks come from the last three years of her life. While every song is a highlight in some respect, there are a few that stand out and shine brighter than the others. The absolute signature numbers are present in "God Bless the Child" and "Strange Fruit." The title track shows off a bit of tenderness in her voice that doesn't come through as often as the usual sadness, and "Just One of Those Things" gives her room to stretch out and swing. Perhaps the brightest highlight is the final track of the album, "Fine and Mellow," in which Lady Day gets to perform with her mentor and lifelong friend Lester Young. The interplay between the two is the stuff of jazz legend. Fans of Holiday should be thrilled at this collection, as her later years are often largely overlooked in compilations, probably due to the world-weariness of her voice. This provides some important songs performed during and after some of the larger tribulations of her troubled life.

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