Q - 7/92, p.1074 Stars
- Excellent - "...a luxurious set, with much information, and several takes of some songs, as revealing in the case of an artist of her subtlety as with anybody in jazz..."
Down Beat - 2/92, p.324 Stars
- Very Good - "...her singing had gotten harsher, more time-ravaged, but hadn't lost its expressive grace...Sound is generally good..."
New York Times (Publisher) - 12/15/91
"...a full-fledged star singer...the postwar recordings found Holiday reaching even deeper levels of emotions...the sound...is brighter..."
Personnel includes: Billy Holiday (vocals), Lester Young (tenor saxophone), Billy Butterfield, Buck Clayton (trumpets), Tiny Grimes (guitar), Bob Haggart, George Duvivier (bass), Sid Catlett, Kenny Clarke, Denzil Best, Shadow Wilson (drums).
Includes a 40-page booklet containing rare photos, detailed track annotations and liner notes by Andy McKaie and Steven Lasker.
Personnel: Billie Holiday (vocals); Johnny Parker , Louis Armstrong (vocals); Paul Ricci, Larry Binyon (guitar, tenor saxophone); Everett Barksdale, Daniel Perry, Dave Harris, Jimmy Shirley, Tiny Grimes, Tony Mottola, Mundell Lowe, Bob Bain, Carl Kress (guitar); Leo Kruczek, Charles Jaffe, Frank Siefiels, George Serloff, Morris Lefkowitz, David Friscina, Joe Quadri, David Frisina (violin); Armand Karpoff, Maurice Perlmutter (viola); Kurt Reher (cello); John Fulton (strings, flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Armand Camgros, Hank Ross , Bernard Kaufman (strings, tenor saxophone); Dick "Dent" Eckles (flute, tenor saxophone); Bill Stegmeyer, Milt Yaner (clarinet, alto saxophone); Eddie Barefield (clarinet, baritone saxophone); Pete Clark, Lem Davis, Jack Cressey, Johnny Mince, Sid Cooper, Nuncio "Toots" Mondello, Al Klink, Rudy Powell, George Dorsey, Hymie Schertzer (alto saxophone); Bobby Tucker (tenor saxophone, piano); Bob Dorsey, Dave Harris , Freddie Williams , Pat Nizza, Freddy Williams, Art Drelinger, Joe Thomas , Lester Young , Art Drellinger, Budd Johnson (tenor saxophone); Stanley Webb , Sol Moore, Dave McRae (baritone saxophone); Gordon Griffin, Tony Faso, Emmett Berry, Rostelle Reese, Joe Guy, Russ Case, Shad Collins, Billy Butterfield, Jimmy Nottingham, Bobby Williams, Bobby Hackett, Dick Vance, Bernie Privin, Buck Clayton (trumpet); George Stevenson , Henderson Chambers, Dicky Wells, George Matthews , Mort Bullman (trombone); Joe Springer , Horace Henderson, Dave Bowman , Sammy Benskin, Bernie Leighton, Billy Kyle , Charlie LaVere (piano); Cozy Cole, Denzil Best, George Wettling, Kelly Martin, Jimmy Crawford , Kenny Clarke, Nick Fatool, Shadow Wilson, Big Sid Catlett, Specs Powell, Wallace Bishop, Norris "Bunny" Shawker, Johnny Blowers (drums); Dave Knight, Charles Schroeder, Beverly Jenkins, Loulie Jean Norman, Richard Davis (background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Andy McKaie; Steve Lasker.
Recording information: Decca's Hollywood studio (10/04/1944-03/08/1950).
Directors: Gordon Jenkins; John Simmons ; Sy Oliver; Tutti Camarata; Bill Stegmeyer; Bob Haggart; Buster Harding.
Photographers: Michael Ochs; Frank Driggs; William Gottlieb; Mark Matlock; Milt Gabler ; Steve Lasker.
Unknown Contributor Roles: John Fulton; Armand Camgros; Gordon Jenkins.
Arrangers: Gordon Jenkins; Sy Oliver; Teddy Brannon; Tutti Camarata; Bob Haggart.
Billie Holiday is at the peak of her vocal powers on these sessions taken from 1944-1950. Though she had cut some historic, memorable tracks and toured nationally with the likes of Count Basie, Lester Young, Buck Clayton and Artie Shaw, her Decca crossover material gave her the pop backing she craved. According to "Toots" Camarata, the arranger and conductor on her first Decca date, when she walked in and saw the string ensemble she was so overwhelmed she turned right around and walked out.
The delectations here are plenty and definitiveness abounds. "Don't Explain" is her own lyric written with Arthur Herzog Jr. with whom she also penned the indelible touchstone, "God Bless The Child." Louis Armstrong sneaks in the "F" word in a sexy duet, "My Sweet Hunk 'O Trash." The cool narrator on "Baby I Don't Cry Over You," "Now Or Never" and "Baby Get Lost" sounds street-wise, tough and self-reliant while the resigned submission of "My Man" and "No More" ring only too true to life. Throughout, Lady Day's matter of fact delivery is at once bracing and disarming.