Quantity:1

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Image Unavailable

Image not available for
Colour:
  • Sorry, this item is not available in
      

Commodore Master Takes Best of


Price: CDN$ 19.05 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
9 new from CDN$ 13.94 4 used from CDN$ 3.99

Artists to Watch


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 8 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Best of
  • Label: Verve - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B00003G1JG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,830 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Strange Fruit
2. Yesterdays
3. Fine And Mellow
4. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
5. How Am I To Know?
6. My Old Flame
7. I'll Get By
8. I Cover The Waterfront
9. I'll Be Seeing You
10. I'm Yours
11. Embraceable You
12. As Time Goes By
13. He's Funny That Way
14. Lover, Come Back To Me
15. Billie's Blues
16. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Product Description

Product Description

Amazon.ca

These historic recordings--made mostly in 1939--represent a crucial period for Billie Holiday, who had already achieved some success as a jazz singer recording for Columbia but had yet to really reach her peak as a performer or icon. The Commodore Master Takes, recorded for Milt Gabler's small independent label, were a step towards Holiday's eventual infamy, thanks notably to the recording of "Strange Fruit," a controversial song about lynching that Columbia Records simply refused. Recording with several small bands that seemed to understand the nuances of her voice perfectly, Holiday is in full command of her faculties here, without a trace of her later deterioration. Instead, we have a singer bearing all the bittersweet conviction of the best blues stylists. Songs like "How Am I to Know?" and "My Old Flame" simply smolder, and the band's support is understated, not overpowering. Holiday is the show here. In its own way, that sets a precedent, considering this was still the big-band era, and a jazz singer with such sparse backing was still an anomaly. Excellent liner notes by Orrin Keepnews--who explains how his own relationship with Billie Holiday was sometimes rocky--complete the picture. --Joe S. Harrington

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 7 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

By joe on Nov. 24 2001
Format: Audio CD
The "official" amazon.com review above says that these recordings wrre made "mostly" in 1939, which is misleading; four of the tunes, among them "Strange Fruit," were recorded then, but the other twelve are from 1944. The reviewer also says that the recordings contain no traces of her later "deterioration," but I hear considerably more raggedness here than on the earlier Columbia recordings. This isn't a criticism; these sides, I think, strike just the proper blanace between the chipper just-one-of-the guys vibe of the Columbias and the sometimes oppressively tragic atmosphere of the later Verve albums.
These are small-group recordings, but the accompaniments are more low-key than on the Columbias and the instrumentalists get much less solo space. So there is nothing here akin to Holiday's relationship with Lester Young on those earlier recordings. On the other hand, the material on the Commodores is superior; she recorded only the finest standards and blues, as opposed to the hokum she was regularly forced to deal with for Columbia. As for highlights, "Strange Fruit" is a remarkable historical document, more effective as moving propaganda than as a popular song. "I Cover the Waterfront" is one of the best versions of a classic tune, and her version of "How Am I To Know?" is especially striking, as she begins her vocal with a dramatically isolated "Oh!" before beginning her mournful reading of the lyric.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Audio CD
Billie Holiday is the most exquisite jazz vocalist of all time. Her voice was like no other, and her phrasing almost always perfect. But even when she was not perfect and her voice a bit ragged, she still had a connection with every song she sang and every song sounded like it was written for her - she could sing anything and interpret every song to fit her own unique style. This is a great CD because it compiles the music from some of Billie's best years. Her voice is top notch on this CD and the band is truly solid. She was always so much more at home with small bands. Though in my opinion not as essential as the Verve collection (Lady In Autumn), this is still a great collection and highlighting Holiday at her peak.
I am hard pressed to think of a Billie Holiday CD I have not thoroughly enjoyed. It is really hard to go wrong with her recordings.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Audio CD
A highly-recommended CD. If you prefer Billie Holiday backed by a quartet or piano as opposed to a full-scale orchestra, then this is for you. What makes this a treat is Billie's singing, which is o-so sublime. Her voice is clear, full, and flushed with melancholic phrasing, with none of the harsh tone or roughness that was to creep up in time. Put this CD in your player and be prepared to be transported to a dimly-lit cabaret room in the early '40s, serenaded by Billie's warm, sensual vocals. Some of the songs are cornerstones of the American pop catalog (i.e. I'll be Seeing You, Embraceable You...) that have been covered by other artists such as Sinatra, but Billie makes these songs entirely her own.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Audio CD
A highly-recommended CD. If you prefer Billie Holiday backed by a quartet or piano as opposed to a full-scale orchestra, then this is for you. What makes this a treat is Billie's singing, which is o-so sublime. Her voice is clear, full, and flushed with melancholic phrasing, with none of the harsh tone or roughness that was to creep up in time. Put this CD in your player and be prepared to be transported to a dimly-lit cabaret room in the early '40s, serenaded by Billie's warm, sensual vocals. Some of the songs are cornerstones of the American pop catalog (i.e. I'll be Seeing You, Embraceable You...) that have been covered by other artists such as Sinatra, but Billie makes these songs entirely her own.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.


Feedback