JJ 10/63: Anita O’Day – Anita Sings Jazz

Sixty years ago Steve Voce noted that while Billie Holiday would jump in the river over lost love, O'Day would have the man jump. First published in Jazz Journal October 1963


Originally available as “Anita Sings The Most” on Columbia 33CX 10125, this is a most welcome reissue of Miss O’Day’s best album. The choice of material and particularly the fine accompaniment all contribute to a major event and, viewing the title of the record, one feels compelled to ask could she possibly sing anything else?

This most elegant of hip ladies must now be considered a veteran since, with twenty years in the public eye, she rivals that other old lady, Peggy Lee.

Although she is something of an eccen­tric, Miss O’Day did initiate the rather pallid and suspiciously pitched school of singing which embraces June Christy, Ann Richards, Chris Connor and so on. None of them ever approached the stan­dards of musicianship and warmth dis­played here. Although she utilises a lot of Billie’s timbre and general approach, the emotional content is quite different. There is nothing sad about Anita and one is not drawn into anything like Billie’s soul-searing.

If Billie lost her man, her answer was to jump in the river. As far as Anita is concerned, the man can jump in the river, and anyone else for that matter. I like women like Anita O’Day. There should be one in every home.

I do not subscribe to the Peterson-knocking club. To me he is the best all-round pianist in the business. The drumming of Peanuts Holland is particularly distinguished.

’S Wonderful; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; Tenderly; Old Devil Moon; Love Me Or Leave Me; We’ll Be Together Again (17 min) – Stella By Starlight; Taking A Chance On Love; Them There Eyes; I’ve Got The World On A String; You Turned The Tables On Me; Bewitched (19 min)
Anita O’Day (vo); Oscar Peterson (p); Herb Ellis (g): Ray Brown (bs); Peanuts Holland (d). January, 1957.
(World Record Club T 244 12inLP 26s. 6d.)