Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Rules of the Road
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Not a good representation of O'Day
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Rules of the Road", released in 1993, is an album that is often painful to listen to, this coming from an O'Day devotee. But truth be told, the 73yr old O'Day is in poor voice throughout this offering and is outmatched by the arrangements which are often over-zealous and mismatched. There are times that the listener can hear the artistry of O'Day peeping through, and her inventiveness surfacing, but these times only come in brief glimpses. It is very hard to look beyond the deterioration of her voice and on most tunes she is horribly off pitch...so much so that even an enthusiastic fan such as myself cannot chalk up her intonation (or lack therof) as a "jazz technique". I'm well aware of the necessity to allow for the ravages of age and lifestyle on the voice, and instead focus on the "musical ideas" presented, but in this case the ravages are unavoidable. However, age alone cannot be blamed. I've heard several live recordings of Anita at this stage of her career, that far surpass this effort. From a little "inside info" that I have managed to attain about this recording, I have learned that the "Jezebel of Jazz" was tanked for most of the sessions. It's unfortunate really, as I believe that O'Day still had alot to offer at this point. I often revel in hearing the great ones at later stages in their experiences and careers. Sinatra, for example, had lost most of the luster to his Voice in the last 20 years of his career, but was able to tell the story in a new manner, from a different point of view. And I actually prefer the later recordings of Billie Holiday, when she was worn and tired. The emotion on these recordings is numbing. In contrast, O'Day, on this recording, is still trying to be the hip kitty, cool chick that she was. It doesn't work. The closest she get's to this past glory, is on "I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out". Here, that playful gal is once again present. On "Music That Makes Me Dance" I yearned for that gal to reappear once more, as my ears wanted desperately for her perform magic with this melody. Unfortunately, "that gal" doesn't appear often. The blame isn't her's alone either. Bregman's arrangements of several tunes are downright puzzling, the most ludicrous being "Here's That Rainy Day". This arrangement, being brassy, bluesy, and strip-tease-like, doesn't compliment the song or O'Day's interpretation of it. Her vocal performance would have shone on this tune if it would have been done as a ballad and/or with a small combo. The award for the most infamous track must go, hands down, to "Lonesome Road", an arrangement so inexplicable that it causes one to believe that EVERYONE involved must have been stoned or drunk. The cheesey, 70's game show arrangement actually finds O'Day singing well, albeit lost behind a gospel choir. I guess I have gone off a little on this album! Honestly though, save your money on this album and opt instead for anything from her marvelous Verve years. Also, there are much better suited projects from her later years, such as "Mello'Day" or the excellent 1991 offering "Live at the Vine St Bar and Grill". Anita should have stayed away from the big-bands at this point and recorded with smaller jazz combos."
Don't destroy your memories of Anita O'Day
gary d friedman | burlington, wi United States | 05/14/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up in Chicago during the fifties as jazz was developing into a mainstream alternative to the colorless "popular"music and emerging rock and roll.For me there was no conflict.It was jazz all the way.
In those days there was a late night rhyming disc jockey,Daddy-O-Dailey,who played be bop and straight ahead jazz exclusively.It was there that that I first discovered Anita O'Day. Every night at 2am Daddy-o played her rendition of "Something Cool".It was the quinessential jazz vocal.I eventually came to own,and love,several of Anita's albums.
I bought this disc when I saw that Anita was still recording and laying down some tracks of some non traditional jazz tunes.After listening to several tracks I had to stop because I was witnessing an icon crash and burn.Not only is her voice gone but the vocals are so off-key that they made me cringe.The arrangements and playing were mailed in.
Anita O'day is one of the great examples of jazz vocalists.Please don't sully that status by listening to this totally unsuccessful attempt to exploit a legend."
Anita O'Day keeps getting better with age like fine wine!
Johnny Ward, III | Boyle Heights, CA | 11/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've spent many a night listening to Anita O'Day live in recent times, at the Atlas in Los angeles. She used to perform there twice a month for 2 years and I almost never missed a show. She always filled a room, and she sang a lot of the same tunes every show, but what was interesting is how the song never sounded the same. She is an improviser, so no matter how many times I heard her sing S'wonderful, it always sounded different. O'Day's voice is a little rougher, but finer like wine. She has lost none of her improvisational skills, she is as chancetaking as ever, if not more. It's like watching a someone on a tightrope, you think they might fall, but they don't. Anita is the best jazz singer alive today, and this cd wonderful. Anita O'Day does a Sinatra style concept album, all the songs have to do with traveling(Rosemary Clooney did an exellent album in recent times with the same traveling theme), fro mthe bright and hip opener Rules Of The Road through songs like Music that Makes Me Dance. This cd is a reflective haunting album, and shouldn't be compared with her Verve recordings. This is Anita O'Day's version of Sinatra's September Of My Years album. O'Day sounds hip and chancetaking as ever with Buddy Bregman's versitile jazz arrangements. Other highlights include a jotous duet with singer/trumpeter Jack Sheldon on I Told you I love ya bow get out, and a wonderful version of Shakin' The Blues Away. This is a great cd, and wonderfu lespecially when traveling on the raod. Buy this gem of a cd and listen to it on your next family vacation drive, the wole family will love it."