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The Very Best of Anita O'Day

Anita O'Day

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Album Review

If Gene Krupa's band needed a signature tune during Anita O'Day's tenure with the group, it was "Kick It!," track 11 of this collection, which includes her exhortation to "keep the rhythm moving." The 18 songs on this CD come primarily from O'Day's first stint with the band, when she was frequently paired with singer-trumpeter Roy Eldridge in one of the great ensembles of the last great years of the big band era. This collection starts with the name-dropping "Opus One" from her second stint with Krupa in 1945, which showed no slackening of her ability to twist a song with the best players. The earlier numbers, pairing her with Eldridge, are even better. In particular, "Thanks for the Boogie Ride" was the basis for a hot little soundie (which Columbia ought to find a way to re-release) featuring the two of them. "Barrelhouse Bessie From Basin Street" also features a duet between the two as well as Krupa in a featured spot that isn't played fast for a change. O'Day could also sound just plain sultry, as on her rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" from her earliest session with Krupa. This CD slots in perfectly as the complement to Columbia's earlier Drum Boogie CD, which covers the Krupa band's work during 1940 and early 1941. Let Me Off Uptown picks up where Drum Boogie leaves off, basically distilling the best cuts from Columbia's earlier Krupa double LP, processing them with a good amount of care to provide a level of fidelity that is a genuine pleasure to hear.

Biography

Born: 18 October 1919 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Few female singers matched the hard-swinging and equally hard-living Anita O'Day for sheer exuberance and talent in all areas of jazz vocals. Though three or four outshone her in pure quality of voice, her splendid improvising, wide dynamic tone, and innate sense of rhythm made her the most enjoyable singer of the age. O'Day's first appearances in a big band shattered the traditional image of a demure female vocalist by swinging just as hard as the other musicians on the bandstand, best heard on...
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The Very Best of Anita O'Day, Anita O'Day
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