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Album Review

One of the best pairings of an artist with a label since Frank Sinatra swung into the Capitol offices, Anita O'Day's time under the Verve umbrella (also including Clef and Norgran) resulted in some of the best pop music of her era. O'Day's entry in 2003's The Diva Series is one of the better single-disc wrap-ups of her time on Verve, though the scarcity of hits while she was there and the near-uniform excellence of her '50s LPs still preclude anyone from recommending a compilation to any but newcomers. Still, this one is much longer than Verve's previous attempts; it also balances songs from her rarer early-'60s dates with her '50s prime, and ably compiles some of her best-known material ("What Is This Thing Called Love," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Tea for Two") as well as a few of her hardest-swingers ("Love Me or Leave Me," "I Get a Kick out of You," "Let's Face the Music and Dance"). Much better than Compact Jazz, but nowhere near as revelatory as her late-'50s classics Anita Sings the Most or Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter With Billy May.


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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Diva, Anita O'Day
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