on June 5, 2012
Whatever business considerations drove the creation of this set, the bottom line is that it contains some of the greatest pop music ever put to wax. Holiday's Commodore and Decca recordings are really of a piece, and mark Holiday's balance between young jazz star and aging, jaded chanteuse. The remastering here is incredible, and unlike most of the previous reissues the casual listener is not forced to either custom program the cds or listen to multiple takes of a song in order. "Strange Fruit" is here, and so are the definitive versions of "Lover Man" and "Solitude" (not just Holiday's definitive versions -- THE definitive versions). The earlier Columbia and later Verve recordings are equally essential , and the 4-cd Columbia set (Master Takes and Singles) and 6-cd Verve set are recommended, but listeners who want Holiday as the near-mythical Lady Day are advised -- strongly -- to start right here.