Ella Fitzgerald / Billie Holiday / Nina Simone

Ultimate Divas [Box]

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Ultimate Divas is a three-disc box set covering Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, each disc -- also available separately -- comprising one of the singer's editions in Verve's Ultimate series. The discs were all compiled by a celebrity close to the singer: respectively, Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves and Lena Horne. The results are stellar distillations of their careers, at least as good as can be fit onto 16-track CDs. Ella Fitzgerald favorites like "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "Oh, Lady Be Good!," "Mr. Paganini" and "Mack the Knife" are included, plus Nina Simone's best and most experimental tracks ("Images," "The Other Woman," "Be My Husband") and Billie Holiday's most poignant moments, including "Body and Soul," "Strange Fruit," "God Bless the Child" and "Lover, Come Back to Me." Each of these three deserve more space than just one disc, but for listeners wanting good introductions to Fitzgerald, Simone and Holiday, this is quite a good set.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:55
2 4:02
3 2:26
4 3:22
5 4:50
6 4:56
7 4:47
8 5:27
9 7:08
10 4:25
11 3:46
12 4:05
13 3:26
14 2:27
15 3:38
16 2:55

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:53
2 4:26
3 2:38
4 3:25
5 3:40
6 2:52
7 2:49
8 3:17
9 7:00
10 5:26
11 3:05
12 2:30
13 4:21
14 4:17
15 4:00
16 3:10

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:35
2 3:29
3 3:18
4 3:15
5 3:29
6 3:23
7 2:55
8 3:04
9 3:11
10 4:19
11 2:26
12 3:05
13 3:58
14 3:36
15 3:28
16 3:44
blue highlight denotes track pick