Search - Gene Quill, Ray Ellis, Billie Holiday :: Last Recordings

Last Recordings
Gene Quill, Ray Ellis, Billie Holiday
Last Recordings
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Japanese limited edition Verve label jazz reissue featuring 24 bit remastering & the original artwork reproduced as a miniature LP sleeve. 2000 release.


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Japanese limited edition Verve label jazz reissue featuring 24 bit remastering & the original artwork reproduced as a miniature LP sleeve. 2000 release.

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CD Reviews

Mirror to the soul
Nostalgia Buff | Studio City, CA United States | 02/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a poignant and at times terrifying album.Billie,reunited with Ray Ellis of "Lady in Satin" lays down her soul and offers a multi-dimentional glimpse into the private anguish of a transcendental artist. At the time of these recordings(March,1959), Billie had less than 5 months to live and her voice reflects years of physical and emotional abuse(some self-inficted). It doesn't matter. Her ability to transcend lyrics and infuse songs with feeling are never more apparent. At times her voice wavers and she struggles for breath, but her soul shines through. These are some extremely moving tracks.Ray Ellis' orchestration is less cloying than in "Lady In Satin" and have more of a jazz feeling. Particularly moving are "Don't Worry About Me","I'll Never Smile Again" and "All The Way". This is not the Billie of Columbia or Decca days. The voice has deteriorated to an ember of what it was. But Billie was always known as an artist with an uncanny ability of wearing her soul on her sleeve and the deterioration of her voice only crystalizes how effective she was in conveying feeling. This is one of the most indispensable albums in my collection. A moving and at times heartbreaking glimpse into the soul of one of the 20th Century's greatest interpreters of song. Don't miss it!"
Decent testament, solid 1950's Billie
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 08/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Recorded a couple of months before Billie's passing and more than a year after the elegaic if not depressing "Lady in Satin," "Last Recordings" is not the death rattle that the jazz press has portrayed it to be. Granted, the voice lacks corporeal substance proportionate to Billie's dimininished body weight, but she's fully on top of phrasing and lyrics--moreso than on "Lady in Satin." Although "There'll Be Some Changes Made" seems less than an inspired song choice, all the tunes find Lady Day in good form, first with a small group featuring Al Cohn and Harry Edison, and second with the lush orchestral textures provided by Ray Ellis. The latter selections have a notably different audio quality from the small group, primarily due to exaggerated stereo separation and excessive reverb. Whether the idea was to enhance Lady Day's voice or cover up weaknesses, it no doubt had the opposite effect. Leonard Feather's notes about the session--including Billie's physical appearance ("She walked into the studio statuesque and sharp as ever")--are, as usual, both edifying and engaging. One wishes more listeners would take the time to read them, as they provide a compelling "portrait of the artist as an older woman.""
The last hurrah of a great artist.
Boz | 06/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This vastly underrated album brings us Lady Day in her sad final years. The voice may be ragged but all of her power and passion are still there. No one before or since could express the deep emotions of a song like "All the Way" and make us feel them. She has lived these lyrics and we know it. For anyone who is interested in real expression of emotions, I recommend this album."