Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak - Etta James' Mystery Lady, Songs of Billie Holiday. Private Music, distributed by BMG Distribution 01005-82114-2.
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I've got quite a few Etta James Albums.
Seen her live several times in Monterey. Perhaps the best live performer ever.
ALBUM AND FAVORITE SONG.
Etta James Live in San Francisco.(Sugar on the floor)
Time after Time.(Funny Valentine)
Seven Year Itch.(Damn Your Eyes)
Sticking to my Guns.(Your Good Thing)
The Right Time.(Give It Up) featuring Steve Winwood.
Great idea for a thread. I hope you get many takers.
Etta James - I like her 50s and 60s singles the best, so I really like her Best of collection. I also really like her mid 80s record "Seven Year Itch".
Ella Fitzgerald - My favorite recording of Ella is her 40th birthday concert in Rome ("Ella in Rome"). She is at the height of her powers here, accompanied by the nonpareil Oscar Peterson trio. The sonics are very good to dazzling. "I Loves You Porgy" is my favorite Ella ever.
Sarah Vaughn - My favorite Sarah record is "No Count Sarah", a recording she did with the Count Basie orchestra w/o Basie. This record shows off Sarah's jazz chops beautifully and puts her at the top of the bebop vocalists. Her work on Horace Silver's "Doodlin'" is as good as any jazz she ever did. Sonics are 60s studio cool (a bit too much reverb) but fine.
Billy Holliday - Much of the Billy Holiday that I have is on vinyl that is older than I am, so I don't know in what form it is currently available. My favorite stuff is the pre-war work she did with Lester Young. This stuff is constantly being repackaged. "Lady in Satin" is an astonishing piece of her later work, and is an essential document. Sonics are a non-issue here.
BTW, although you didn't ask I can't resist - try some Etta Jones. Great voice - somewhat similar in style to the older jazz greats. She passed recently from cancer. A commorative compilation CD, "Etta Jones, Always In Our Hearts" on Blue Note. I highly recommend it! Might even cause you to go out and buy a few of her other recordings. :-)
Try Etta's latest - "Blues to the Bone" At 67 (I think she was born in '38) she can sing the blues like nobody's business. All of her work is superior - try her first LP "At last", live from 1963 "Rocks the House", "Tell Mama" from 1968 with an amazing muscle shoals music section, and some of the later ones mentioned above. She is truly amazing.
For Sarah Vaughan try anything on the Pablo label (Ellington Songbooks, Copacabana, etc.) and stay away from her Roulette label material (more pop than jazz, but others may disagree). Also look out for her version of "September Song" with Clifford Brown, it's on several compilations.
For Ella Fitzgerald any of the Songbooks (Gershwin, Ellington, Rogers/Hart etc.) on Verve are great. "Let's Do It" with Louis Armstrong is also very good, as is "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charley".
Verve also has a multi-disc set featuring both Sarah and Ella in their 'Round Midnight series.
I have several of Ella's discs, but I prefer Sarah Vaughan. One of her later releases on the Pablo label is my favorite with a real all-star group of Joe Pass, Oscar Peterson, Louie Bellson, and others. I have a Japanese version of it, but know that it was released domestically. Not sure of the number, but title is "How Long How This Been Going On". Check it out. Sonics are okay, but the performances are great.
It's hard to go wrong with any of these fine women.... Personal favorites of mine are: Billie Holiday "Songs for Distingue Lovers (later) or basically any of her earlier Columbia small band stuff, Try the Ella/Ellington records (really cool stuff), and the Sarah Vaughan/Oscar Peterson stuff is amazing.
I just heard on my local NPR station a one hour tribute to Etta Jones. What an amazing voice! I wasn't familiar with her work, but she could sing blues and bluesy-jazz songs like no other woman that I've heard. She is now on my list as one of my all-time favorites. Right up there with Ella, Dyna, Sarah and the other greats mentioned.