The Billie Holiday The Ultimate Collection DVD features rare TV and film performances, an especially rare radio interview with Mike Wallace, an audio-only rehearsal session with pianist Jimmy Rowles, audio interviews with ... more »friends and fellow musicians, an interactive timeline and an evocative photo-document gallery featuring hundreds of images, from rare photos to personal letters, plus Lady Day?s complete recording history for major record companies. Performance highlights include three from 1956?s Stars Of Jazz TV that are seen here for the first time since their original broadcast, Holiday?s first appearance on film, Duke Ellington?s "Saddest Tale," and the classic "Fine And Mellow" with Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and other jazz greats. FILM AND TV PERFORMANCES
The Blues Are Brewin?
Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
My Man (Mon Homme)
Please Don?t Talk About Me When I?m Gone
Fine And Mellow
What A Little Moonlight Can Do
St. Louis Blues ? Bessie Smith
I Cover The Waterfront ? Louis Armstrong AUDIO PERFORMANCES
Swing! Brother, Swing!
They Can?t Take That Away From Me
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
I?ll Get By
I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone AUDIO INTERVIEWS
John Hammond, Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge, Barney Josephson, Tiny Grimes, Billy Eckstine, Jimmy Rowles, Sylvia Syms, Corky Hale 1955 Audio Rehearsal: Billie Holiday And Jimmy Rowles For "Jeepers Creepers"
1956 Audio Interview: Billie Holiday With Mike Wallace, Night Beat
Timeline: Hundreds Of Images And Interactive Features
Complete Recording History For Okeh, Vocalion, Brunswick, Aladdin, Columbia, Commodore, Capitol, Decca, Clef And Verve« less
"What an amazing DVD of collected Billie Holiday snips. Lots of things that someone spent considerable time pulling together, not just video but audio recordings and interviews. This was my first time seeing Billie sing, after having listened to her for the past 25 years on albums and CDs. Wanted to see how she stood, how she held her mouth, all that. I was mesmerized watching her; dazzled and calmed all at the same time, watching her nonchalantly let lyrics float from her mouth, easy as 1,2,3. You have to remember that most clips come from later in her career; they didn't have MTV in the 1930s! Billie's rendition of Fine and Mellow on this DVD is worth the purchase price all by itself. I had dreams about her after watching this collection last night. Fine and mellow dreams."
Lizard | Florida | 03/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many rare appearances and very insightful biographical data are all enclosed in this nifty presentation of Lady Day. Very moving, and always enduring, to the innermost recesses of one's heart. I really enjoyed it."
Precious but not ultimate
Nikica Gilic | Zagreb, Croatia | 12/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Indeed, the footage of Lady Day is preciously rare, they say, so this DVD might contain basically everything. However, the film with Duke Ellington's orchestra is not complete. They shouldn't have cut it after the part where Billie appears, regardless of the fact that this is definitively not the best Ellington perfomance of the period (to say the least...). Also, the fabulous "Sound of Jazz" performance with Young, Hawkins, Eldridge, Mulligan, Webster and Dickenson is seen and heard in much better shape on the "Sound of Jazz" DVD (the one with Henry Red Allen, Count Basie, Miles Davis and others)...
On the other hand, it's a great thrill to see and hear Billie in other rare TV occasions (even as her self-destructive life obviously took its toll, she is still impressive even in her last TV appearance...)... The very useful "timeline" feature mentions, among other things, an appearance on British television; it would be very nice if that footage would surface at some point....
The interviews audios (with Billie, John Hammond...) and the rehearsal with Jimmy Rowles on piano are also very useful and interesting...
BTW; the Bessie Smith flick is a welcome addition (as is the Armstrong big band number), but they should have presented the entire film... Also; although the interactive part is useful and amusing and the interviews at times amazing, the selection of songs for the audio part should have been a bit more "ultimate"...
Also, there are some mistakes in the liner notes: James P. Johnson is the musical director, not the director of "St. Louis Blues" short film while, although Jo Jones is listed as the drummer on "Fine and Mellow" video-number, the announcer in the beginning of the clip mentions Ossie Johnson at the drums (still, in this case the announcer might be wrong...).
All in all, this is a must have for a Lady Day fan, but the editors and producers should have done better..."
If You Love Billie Holiday....
Randy Remote | Laytonville, CA | 08/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...you will want this. If this is indeed complete, then there is not much footage of Billie Holiday actually performing live. What does exist is wonderful, the "Stars on Jazz" is priceless. Some of the clips are soundies, that is, the musicians are fake-playing to a prerecorded track. They were the true precursors of MTV-type video clips, and show Billie at the early stages of her career. Two of the tracks are from the movie "New Orleans" (and also lip-synced). And for some reason, there are two clips by Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong that do not contain Billie. Think of them as bonus tracks. There is are also 5 audio-only live performances, and a Mike Wallace radio interview with Billie, a great discography and photo slide show. The kicker is an audio-only rehearsal with pianist and drummer, working out the arrangement for "Jeepers Creepers", with Billie's salty language as she jives with the players. The dvd also comes with a classy and informative booklet which covers all the details. They did a nice job on this release."
A few unseen clips, badly edited
Jeff Lowenthal | Chicago, IL United States | 05/29/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I looked forward to this DVD, especially the not often seen clips.
Unfortunately I was very disappointed. The "production," if you can call it that, is amateurish. Many of the included clips have been presented in other productions. Those that haven't are apparently pretty rare, and it's good to have them: BUT the overall production is so bad that one wonders if professionals were involved in this.
The audio interviews (snippets, really) are pathetic. I knew Roy Eldridge, and it's clear to me that he was uncomfortable being interviewed and shows it with his answers. If these interviews are an example of her "research", it's no wonder the late interviewer was unable to get her book published.
Some of the other audio tracks have mostly been available for twenty years or more. (Basie airshots, for example.
The one high point is the DVD packaging, which is quite nice. I think they should have spent more money on the production...
Recommended only if you must have every last shred of Billie.