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Ultimate Anita O'Day

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Album Review

Verve's Ultimate series unveils a new concept in the hackneyed concept of greatest-hits collections: instead of compilation producers, these albums feature tracks selected by figures who either worked with or were influenced by the artists themselves. The results are much more than your average best-of compilations; they're closer to treatises on the immense influence those artists exerted on generations to come, documenting exactly why they were special and deserve to be remembered. Anita O'Day's Ultimate compilation was selected by Alan Paul from Manhattan Transfer, who focuses on O'Day's often revelatory bop transformations of pop standards including "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Old Devil Moon," "Them There Eyes," and "Body and Soul." The selections all make sense, considering Manhattan Transfer's attempt to transfer staid vocal-pop in their own fashion during the '80s. There are also a few inclusions from then-unavailable albums like Trav'lin Light and Anita O'Day at Mr. Kelly's, making this an above-average compilation, especially for those who already have a few Anita O'Day albums on their shelves.

Biography

Born: October 18, 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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Ultimate Anita O'Day, Anita O'Day
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