Interesting timing. I recently got a new job which requires me to drive much of the day and I am listening to Ella's Verve recordings (currently I am up to the four disc version of the Gershwin Songbook). I don't have that particular box set but I do have some of it (the Verve recordings). I still haven't gone before or after her Verve years but I am eventually going to buy this:
It is "only" fourteen discs but I believe that it contains just about all of her pre Verve recordings. The sound may be a little rough but at that price it is impossible to say "no."
I have that Billie Holiday box but I haven't yet found the time to listen to it. I did recently acquire her Decca/Commodore recordings on this collection:
and I was impressed with it. I think the only late period Billie that I have heard is on the At Newport
album (which is split between Billie, Ella and Carmen McRae). She definitely sounded very rough on it.
I'm also trying to find some Sarah Vaughan discs but much of her catalogue seems to be out of print. There was a recent box set of her jazz recordings circa 1954-1958 but I haven't picked it up yet:
Heh, we seem to have fairly similar taste in music.
Yes, it's a relieve to find someone at TF who's not a Rihanna nut.
I like the content of that Holiday box set. I have another one that covers the same period. 40's Billie is still very good in my opinion. 50's Billie is a disaster though. At least for me because opinion is not unanimous on that.
One from Sarah Vaughan that you might consider is her edition on the "eight classic albums" series (see below).
There are other similar box sets available from the likes of Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Anita O'Day and other important jazz and/or "traditional pop" singers. Also lots of jazz instrumentalists - Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington and so on.
One of the positive things about the demise of the cd for fanatics like us is that you now can buy lots of great recordings for relatively little money.