Billie Holiday – The Centennial Collection (Columbia/Legacy) – She was a discovery of John Hammond and a monumental influence on Frank Sinatra. This reissue arrives in time for Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday. It’s comprised of tracks recorded between 1933 and 1944 for various labels including Brunswick, Commodore, Okeh and Vocalion. Holiday was a master of the art of personal singing. Blessed with a voice as sweet as honey and dry as a martini, she phrased like a horn and was a unique composer and interpreter of tremendous depth and sensitivity. An artist who truly lived the life she sang about, her turbulent life didn’t stop her from seamlessly melding jazz, blues and pop. Recorded with the orchestras of Teddy Wilson, Eddie Heywood and Holiday herself, it includes collaborations with jazz titans Lester Young, Buck Clayton and Freddie Green and others on songs like “Summertime,” her signature “God Bless The Child” and “The Very Thought of You “ and her anti-lynching protest, “Strange Fruit.” This is classic jazz at its finest.
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