VA – The Ultimate Diva Collection (2003)

VA - The Ultimate Diva Collection (2003)
Artist: Various
Album: The Ultimate Diva Collection
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Label: Verve Records
Released: 2003
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Tracklist:
Ella Fitzgerald – How High The Moon (7:03)
Sarah Vaughan – Lullaby Of Birdland (4:00)
Dinah Washington – Teach Me Tonight (2:47)
Billie Holliday – Body And Soul (6:20)
Carmen McRae – You Took Advantage Of Me (2:37)
Anita O’Day – Peel Me A Grape (3:04)
Blossom Dearie – Someone To Watch Over Me (5:59)
Nina Simone – Love Me Or Leave Me (4:06)
Shirley Horn – Come Dance With Me (2:51)
Gloria Lynne – I’m Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life (2:56)
Astrud Gilberto – Fly Me To The Moon (2:20)
Peggy Lee – I Don’t Know Enough About You (2:59)
Etta James – A Sunday Kind Of Love (3:18)
Natalie Cole – It’s Crazy (2:11)
Helen Merrill – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (4:19)
Ernestine Anderson – It Don’t Mean A Thing (If Ain’t Got That Swing) (2:15)

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Verve’s Ultimate Diva Collection: The Diva Series rounds up tracks by 16 of the singers who have recorded for the label (or one of the labels the Verve Group now distributes) at some point in their career. The line-up reads like a who’s who of vocal jazz: legends like Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee and Carmen McRae rub shoulders with less-acclaimed yet still diva- worthy singers like Ernestine Anderson, Blossom Dearie, and the always fabulous Shirley Horn. Throw in a few wild cards like Etta James and Astrud Gilberto, and the results become nearly definitive. There are a plethora of classic songs from the ’50s and ’60s (and ’90s in Shirley Horn’s case) here too. Ella Fitzgerald’s “How High the Moon,” Sarah Vaughan’s “Lullaby of Birdland,” Helen Merrill’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” and Billie Holiday’s “Body and Soul” are just a few of the best. Except for the questionable inclusion of Natalie Cole’s 2001 recording of “It’s Crazy,” every song here is a vocal jazz classic. Of course all this classicism wouldn’t mean much if the artists and songs were just thrown together haphazardly, but Verve has done a fine job of constructing a collection that flows like a cool, clean stream, and can easily be recommended to anyone looking for a swinging introduction to jazz vocals. Fans of the genre will find it quite worthwhile as well.
Review by Tim Sendra

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