All or Nothing at All
This two-disc set features some of Billie Holiday’s top Verve performances from the mid-’50s. Over the course of 28 cuts, she runs the emotional gamut from summery optimism (“Love Is Here to Stay”) to pathos-rich musings (“Ill Wind”). Befitting her perennial after-hours mood while at the label, the majority of songs here feature Holiday in a low-down mood of the highest order: her versions of “Moonlight in Vermont” and “A Foggy Day” are classics of the jazz vocal tradition. And the supporting cast isn’t bad either, what with the likes of Harry Eddison, Barney Kessel, Ben Webster, and Jimmy Rowles tagging along. A gem.