Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
All Or Nothing at All
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Listen to Samples
A Great Collection
Michael Marcotte | Washington, DC | 07/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The songs on this CD are the ones you really want to hear. So often compilations fall short of depicting a great artist because they leave out so much. They usually only have the #1 hits and most requested songs that are already so easy to find. Not this time.Here, the songs are all examples of why Lady Day's name is so closely associated with singing the blues. And in typical Verve fashion, the quality of the recordings is OUTSTANDING. Billie Holiday's voice isn't the most powerful, the most refined, or the most acclaimed, but is it ever inspiring. Her ability to convey sorrow in a ballad is unparalleled. But one of the best things about this CD are the medium tempo'd, swinging songs like "Cheek to Cheek", "All Or Nothing At All", "Just One Of Those Things" and several others. You don't simply get lulled into sadness (for too long).Highly recommended for the Billie enthusiast or casual Jazz fan. This compilation trumps others around it."
M. Kazanecki | 10/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Helpful reminder: This is a song for song collection of two albums you may already have; Songs for Distiguished Lovers, and Body and Soul. A great buy."
Late but convincing work from Lady Day
Nikica Gilic | Zagreb, Croatia | 04/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the age in life when other great singers were at their peak (for instance Ella, Sarah, Satchmo), Billie was deteriorating rapidly: her voice was losing strength and collour... But, since the strength and the loudness were never essential for her, and the immaculate sense of tempo, rhythm and emotion lingered on, she could still muster a convincing session or two in the fifties. Some even claim that this weaker Billie actually had additional emotional acuteness (I agree only partially - at times she WAS emotionally more convincing at this stage, but too often she was just unable to deliver a chorus convincingly)
This double CD (made of three LP albums - "All or nothing at all", "Body and Soul" and "Songs for distingue lovers") is a good example of this stage in her career, but also probably the best recordings made in the period. It is full of genuinly emotional, but sometimes also ironic interpretations of great songs from Gershwin and company (Berlin, Porter, Duke...), with only one great instrumental number, recorded while the musicians waited Billie to show up ("Just Friends"; recording not issued on the original albums)...
Edison wisely sticks to the muted trumpet on many songs (too much open horn would outshine the gentle and fragile star of the sessions), but when he removes his mute it is a pleasure indeed, while Ben Webster is also reasonably restrained when compared with his own sessions. However, these two are really magnificent players (and so are the pianist Rowles, the guitarist Kessel and other musicians), capable of high degrees of emotion and providing a swinging back-up, in tune with the singers register and the general idea of the song.
Naturally, this is far from Billie's "Columbia" gems from the 30's (with Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Webster, Benny Goodman...), or from the best of her 40's output, but since the sound is better from the technological point of view, this is a fine way to start exploring the legacy of, many would argue, the greatest singer in the entire jazz history.
And, I repeat again, I have met and read people who actually prefer her emotinally very potent late voice to the superior sounds she produced when she was at her peak... It's probably more common view among Billie's larger, not-strictly-jazz oriented following."