Anita O’Day: The Jazz Stylings Of Anita O’Day

Vinyl reissue of material straddling the 1950s and 1960s illustrates O'Day's ability to thrive whatever the tempo

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The original UK vinyl release of this album on the Verve label (VLP 9125) was in 1966, sporting a compilation of tracks taken from the substantial discography O’Day had amassed for Norman Granz. It came with a sleeve note from Alun Morgan, which is reproduced here for this 180gm vinyl reissue.

In addition, we acquire two bonus tracks not included on the original LP, namely Whisper Not and Memories Of You – the Benny Golson classic having a contribution from Roy Eldridge not indicated on the personnel listing and the Blake/Razaf standard being a pre-recording for the soundtrack of The Gene Krupa Story.

As quoted on the sleeve, the singer insisted “I am not a singer; I’m a song stylist” and there is plenty of that style to be heard here, whether backed by large orchestras or small jazz groups. That throaty delivery distinguished her from other singers. Her voice was a mobile instrument capable of coping with whatever tempos were thrown its way.

She could swing and improvise with the best of them, clearly evident across the majority of these 18 tracks, even allowing for one or two of the arrangements not really doing her justice. It could be argued that she always sounded more at home in the company of smaller groups. There is an opportunity for the listener to make their own comparisons here.

Her interpretations of Four, Four Brothers and Stompin’ At The Savoy are first rate, balanced out by some excellent ballad performances. Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, an unwieldy proposition for a vocalist, is perhaps the only real negative.

Reissues such as this serve as a reminder of O’Day’s status amongst jazz singers past and present.

Discography
(1) Honeysuckle Rose; (2) Four; (3) Trav’lin’ Light; (2) Four Brothers; (4) Sweet Georgia Brown; (1) You’re Top; (5) Fly Me To The Moon; (6) Tea For Two; (5) Whisper Not; (4) Stompin’ At The Savoy; (2) Take The “A” Train; (7) Easy Living; (8) Old Devil Moon; (2) Interlude (A Night In Tunisia); (8) S’ Wonderful/They Can’t Take That Away From Me; (9) Under A Blanket Of Blue; (7) Slaughter On Tenth Avenue; (10) Memories Of You (57.51)
O’Day (v) with: (1) Buddy Bregman’s Orchestra. Los Angeles, 8 December 1955. (2) Marty Paich Orchestra. LA, 3 April 1958. (3) Johnny Mandel’s Orchestra. LA, 18 January 1961. (4) as (1) but 20 December 1956. (5) The Three Sounds: Gene Harris (p); Andy Simkins (b); Bill Dowdy (d). New York, 16 October 1962. (6) Joe Masters (p); Eldee Young (b); John Poole (d). Mister Kelly’s Restaurant, Chicago, 27 April 1958. (7) Bill Holman’s Orchestra. LA, 16 August 1960. (8) Oscar Peterson (p); Herb Ellis (g); Ray Brown (b); John Poole (d). Chicago, 31 January 1957. (9) Cal Tjader (vib); Bob Corwin (p); Freddy Schreiber (b); Johnny Rae (d); Wilfredo Vicente (cga). LA, 27 February 1962. (10) Red Nichols (c); Moe Schneider (tb); Heinie Beau (cl, arr); Benny Carter (as); Eddie Miller (ts); Jess Stacy (p); Barney Kessel (g); Morty Corb (b); Gene Krupa (d). LA, 23 December 1959.
Wax Time 772291