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Anita O'Day's Finest Hour

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Editors’ Notes

Anita O’Day was one of the most diverse and adventurous vocalists on Verve, recording albums in Latin, big band and soul-jazz styles, and collaborating with stylists like vibraphonist Cal Tjader and orchestral arranger Gary McFarland. “Given her dedication to the twin gods of improvisation and swing,” wrote Will Friedwald, “she may be the most firmly committed of all jazz vocalists.” Anita O’Day’s Finest Hour doesn’t come close to compiling all of the singer’s compelling performances for Verve, but it does a fine job of highlighting her essential qualities. Her unsurpassed agility and ease at high speed is highlighted by “Them There Eyes” and “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and her whipping sense of swing is showcased on “Let Me Off Uptown” and “Boogie Blues.” However the deeper, more essential quality is the depth of Anita’s experience. She was an expert technician, but we feel her singing because she sings as someone who’s been through more than can be contained in one song. It’s the “lived it” quality that ties together virtuosic displays like “The Way You Look Tonight” and the naked blues of “Anita’s Blues,” and makes each equal to the other.

Customer Reviews

O'Day's Finest Hour

One of the finest collections of Anita O'Day at her peak. This is Anita swinging with Gene Krupa and Roy Eldridge on "Let Me Off Uptown." This is Anita singing at breakneck speed on "Tea For Two" and scatting on "Four Brothers." This is Anita casting a spell on a ballad like "God Bless the Child" with guitarist Barney Kessel. And this is Anita singing sexily on the now classic "Peel Me A Grape." This is truly Anita O'Day at her finest hour.

Great Jazz Singer, Awsome Collection

Anita O'Day, my nominee for the greatest jazz singer of the twentieth century, died on Thanksgiving Day, 2006. If you are not already a fan, this is the place to start. Nobody else could improvise so smoothly and delightfully. Check out "Sweet Georgia Brown" or "Sing, Sing, Sing". As in "Tea for Two", she could improvise, sing very fast, and still I love it. We will miss Anita, but she has left us a great legacy of recordings, surely something to be thankful for.

Anita O'Day

Fantastic. Wonderful piece of the American Song Book. Johnathan Schwartz is proud. PT

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...
Full Bio
Anita O'Day's Finest Hour, Anita O'Day
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