11 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On the evening of April 27th, 1958, Verve Records hauled its recording equipment into a small-but-popular Chicago club called Mister Kelly’s in order to capture the set by Anita O’Day and her trio. The Rush Street venue was one of the city’s best jazz clubs, renowned for its superlative acoustics and top-tier talent. Verve honcho Norman Granz understood that a great live performance comes from the intersection of several factors — audience, band, location — and he thought Mister Kelly’s would bring out the best in O’Day. He was right. The singer was a master of extemporaneous art, and she gives all of herself in these performances. “It Never Entered My Mind,” “I Have a Reason For Living” and “Loneliness Is a Well” are so naked and intimate that you feel Anita is singing them to you from across a lonely bedroom. Her other mode is the thrill ride of “Tea for Two” and “Have You Met Miss Jones,” where Anita’s swift vocalizing unspools luminous ribbons of sound. With the crisp brushstrokes of John Poole in one ear, and O’Day’s husky voice in the other, the recording puts the listener in the middle of the action.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On the evening of April 27th, 1958, Verve Records hauled its recording equipment into a small-but-popular Chicago club called Mister Kelly’s in order to capture the set by Anita O’Day and her trio. The Rush Street venue was one of the city’s best jazz clubs, renowned for its superlative acoustics and top-tier talent. Verve honcho Norman Granz understood that a great live performance comes from the intersection of several factors — audience, band, location — and he thought Mister Kelly’s would bring out the best in O’Day. He was right. The singer was a master of extemporaneous art, and she gives all of herself in these performances. “It Never Entered My Mind,” “I Have a Reason For Living” and “Loneliness Is a Well” are so naked and intimate that you feel Anita is singing them to you from across a lonely bedroom. Her other mode is the thrill ride of “Tea for Two” and “Have You Met Miss Jones,” where Anita’s swift vocalizing unspools luminous ribbons of sound. With the crisp brushstrokes of John Poole in one ear, and O’Day’s husky voice in the other, the recording puts the listener in the middle of the action.

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