Anita's voice could swim around words and music as she effor
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 06/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anita O'Day remains one of the greatest singers of the entire twentieth century. Anita could take a tune and inject it with a type of electricity that was all her own. Never afraid to scat, change tempos or just play with intonation and syllables, Anita displayed a boldness and flair that set her apart from many vocalists. This CD proves it.
The CD starts with the twelve tracks that were on the 1959 record album entitled Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter With Billy May; and then we get a few bonus tracks Anita did with other arrangers.
"Just One Of Those Things" starts the CD as if it were a piñata that's just been struck wide open; Billy May's typical use of the horns works well as Anita weaves her magic from the start. Anita sings this as a true jazz song and a classic both at once. "Love For Sale" gets a flashy treatment by both Anita O'Day and Billy May; the tempo changes enhance the beauty and drama of the number.
Other gems in the track set copied from the 1959 record album include "I Get A Kick Out Of You;" this song explores the joys of being with your one true love. Anita and Billy May start this slow with an opening verse; and when the tempo increases you can feel the jet engines whizzing faster than you've ever felt them! Anita doesn't always stick to the melody as she sings the lyrics; this proves her excellent ability to do any and all vocal gymnastics.
"I've Got You Under My Skin" gets the royal Latin treatment from Billy May's arrangement; and naturally Anita more than keeps up with May's work. Anita's voice oozes femininity as she uses her voice to jump up, down and all about on this number. Anita truly performs "I've Got You Under My Skin" to perfection!
"It's Delovely" boasts an energetic yet romantic flavor to it; the tempo may be fast but make no mistake: Anita O'Day sings this with passion and Billy May's arrangement shines like pure gold! The arrangement makes great use of the horns. "What Is This Thing Called Love" features Anita singing with confidence as she scats, plays with the tempo of her vocals while Billy May's tempo stays much more constant, and pours her heart and soul into performing this number as only she could.
We also get bonus tracks that reflect Anita's genius with other arrangers. I love the passion and forcefulness of Buddy Bregman's arrangement for the trombones on "You're The Top;" Anita's voice is in excellent form once again for this number. The romantic number "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" shows how Anita could get away with singing this number by occasionally leaving out the "My" in "My Heart Belongs To Daddy." And you know what? Anita does it with such a natural talent that it works very well. Jimmy Giuffre's arrangement works well, too, for "My Heart Belongs To Daddy."
"From This Moment On" begins with a beautiful piano flourish and Anita whizzes through this ballad without stumbling--and she doesn't sing a superfluous note, either! This number shines and stands as a highlight of this CD. The final track, another interpretation of ""Just One Of Those Things" has different tempo changes than the first version on this CD; the arrangement by Ralph Burns also features guitarist Tal Farlowe.
The liner notes include the recording dates for each song and Will Friedwald contributes a fine essay about Anita O'Day and her work with the different arrangers on this album.
Anita O'Day is something to be personally experienced; I can't quite find the words to completely convey the high octane, forceful energy and electricity with which she performed countless songs throughout her very long career. This CD would be a "must-have" for Anita's fans; and people who enjoy classic jazz will enjoy this CD, too. If you want to become better acquainted with the artistry of Anita O'Day, this CD is also a great place to start.