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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Billie Holiday

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Album Review

While it can't hope to compete with the impressive box sets of her work or even more specialized single-disc collections, 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Billie Holiday still manages to present a fair amount of her most definitive work from the '40s, even though it's only 12 tracks long. "Strange Fruit," "Lover Man," "Lady Sings the Blues," and "My Man" are all here, along with "Fine and Mellow," "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do," and "I Loves You Porgy." Not surprisingly since its track listing is so small, this collection is somewhat unfocused and definitely incomplete, but it offers a tantalizing taste of Billie Holiday's most musically fruitful period.

Customer Reviews

I love her low voice!

What ever happened to unfiltered talent? What ever happened to music? People turning into mindless fools Songs to make a booty shake No true words, lyrics, or song Just beats that can't "ring an alarm" This is music This is a voice Let us rejoice For this a diamond in the rough Don't you wish your voice was real like hers! Artists are turning robotic Peace and Love.

Heartbreakingly beautiful

I received this Billie Holiday album as a gift a few years ago. I was just getting into blues at the time. My parents never really listened to either blues or jazz, except my dad had an awful "smooth jazz" instrumental album that he would sometimes make me listen to. So I was trying to expand my horizons at the time. I put the cd on my iPod and listened to it while I was reading a book. To be honest I didn't like it that much. I didn't dislike it, but I had been listening to belters at the time and it sounded boring to me. I obviously wasn't really listening. I listened to it a few more times, but not closely, and I forgot about it. A year later I was scrolling through my iPod and I thought I would listen another time. And I listened again. And suddenly I heard everything that I hadn't before. I heard the pain and the sadness and the fragility. All these things are what is great about her voice. What I didn't realize at the time is that emotion doesn't have to be expressed through belting a song out, but can be expressed in another way. Billie's voice to me, while not technically great (she doesn't use a large range, or hit impossible notes, or sing complicated tunes) is probably one of the most beautiful in the world simply due to the feeling it expresses. And <3 <3 <3 My Man and Strange Fruit. They break my heart.


I feel like I am in a smokey old bar somewhere 70 years ago and Billie is singing when I hear this woman's voice. She's amazing!


Born: April 7, 1915 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

The first popular jazz singer to move audiences with the intense, personal feeling of classic blues, Billie Holiday changed the art of American pop vocals forever. More than a half-century after her death, it's difficult to believe that prior to her emergence, jazz and pop singers were tied to the Tin Pan Alley tradition and rarely personalized their songs; only blues singers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey actually gave the impression they had lived through what they were singing. Billie Holiday's...
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