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Billie Holiday: The Ultimate Collection

Like Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday has fared extremely well on the reissue front. Dozens of individual discs and all sorts of deluxe box sets fill stores shelves, chronicling every stage of her landmark career. But never has a single compilation-in this case comprising two CDs and a DVD assembled in commemoration of what would have been her 90th birthday-delivered so comprehensive a survey of significant sides (42 in all, spanning 1935-58) from her respective tenures with Columbia, Brunswick, Commodore, Okeh, Capitol, Clef, Decca, Aladdin and Verve. For the Holiday neophyte, it’s the finest introductory package imaginable. The real prize, though, particularly for those whose CD libraries already include extensive Holiday holdings, is the DVD.

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