Saturday, 27 August 2011

Anita O' Day

Anita O' Day (October 18, 1919 – November 23, 2006) was an American jazz singer.

Born Anita Belle Colton, O' Day was admired for her sense of rhythm and dynamics, and her early big band appearances shattered the traditional image of the "girl singer". Refusing to pander to any female stereotype, O' Day presented herself as a "hip" jazz musician, wearing a band jacket and skirt as opposed to an evening gown. She changed her surname from Colton to O' Day, pig Latin for "dough," slang for money.

O' Day, along with Mel Tormé, is often grouped with the West Coast cool school of jazz. Like Tormé, O' Day had some training in jazz drums (courtesy of her first husband Don Carter); her longest musical collaboration was with jazz drummer John Poole. While maintaining a central core of hard swing, O' Day's skills in improvisation of rhythm and melody put her squarely among the pioneers of bebop; indeed, a staple of her live act in the 1950s was a cover of "Four" by Miles Davis.

She cited Martha Raye as the primary influence on her vocal style, although she also expressed admiration for Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.

O' Day always maintained that the accidental excision of her uvula during a childhood tonsillectomy left her incapable of vibrato, and unable to maintain long phrases. That botched operation, she claimed, forced her to develop a more percussive style based on short notes and rhythmic drive. However, when she was in good voice she could stretch long notes with strong crescendos and a telescoping vibrato, e.g. her live version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, captured in Bert Stern's film Jazz on a Summer's Day.

O' Day's backbeat - based singing style was strongly influential on many other female singers of the late swing and bebop eras, including June Christy, Chris Connor and Doris Day.

O' Day's long-term problems with heroin addiction and alcoholism and her often erratic behavior related to those problems earned her the nickname "The Jezebel of Jazz".

Born into a broken home in Chicago, O' Day took the first chance to leave home when, at age 14, she became a contestant in the popular Walk-a-thons as a dancer. She toured with the Walk-a-thons circuits for two years, occasionally being called upon to sing. In 1934, she began touring the Midwest as a marathon dance contestant and singing "The Lady in Red" for tips.

In 1936, she left the endurance contests, determined to become a professional singer. She started out as a chorus girl in such Uptown venues as the Celebrity Club and the Vanity Fair, then found work as a singer and waitress at the Ball of Fire, the Vialago, and the Planet Mars. At the Vialago, O' Day met the drummer Don Carter, who introduced her to music theory and whom she married in 1937. Her first big break came in 1938 when Down Beat editor Carl Cons hired her to work at his new club at 222 North State Street, the Off-Beat, which quickly became a popular hangout for musicians. Also performing at the Off-Beat was the Max Miller Quartet, which backed O' Day for the first 10 days of her stay there.

While performing at the Off Beat, she met Gene Krupa, who promised to call her if Irene Daye, his current vocalist, left his band. In 1939 she was hired as vocalist for Miller's Quartet, which had a stay at the Three Deuces club in Chicago.

The call from Krupa came in early 1941. Of the 34 sides she recorded with Krupa, it was "Let Me Off Uptown", a novelty duet with Roy Eldridge, that became her first big hit. That year, Down Beat named O' Day "New Star of the Year". In 1942, she appeared with the Krupa band in two "soundies" (short musical films originally made for jukeboxes), singing "Thanks for the Boogie Ride" and "Let Me Off Uptown". The same year Down Beat magazine readers voted her into the top five big band singers. O' Day came in fourth, with Helen O'Connell first, Helen Forrest second, Billie Holiday third, and Dinah Shore fifth. O' Day married again in 1942, this time to golf pro and jazz fan Carl Hoff.

When Krupa's band broke up after he was arrested for possession of marijuana in 1943, O'Day joined Woody Herman for a month-long gig at the Hollywood Palladium, followed by two weeks at the Orpheum. Unwilling to tour with another big band, she left Herman after the Orpheum engagement and finished out the year as a solo artist. Despite her initial misgivings about the compatibility of their musical styles, she joined Stan Kenton's band in April 1944. During her 11 months with Kenton, O' Day recorded 21 sides, both transcription and commercial, and appeared in a Universal Pictures short Artistry in Rhythm (1944). "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine" became a huge seller and put Kenton's band on the map. She also appeared in one soundie with Kenton, performing "I'm Going Mad for a Pad" and "Tabby the Cat". O' Day later said, "My time with Stanley helped nurture and cultivate my innate sense of chord structure." In 1945 she rejoined Krupa's band and stayed almost a year. The reunion, unfortunately, yielded only 10 sides. After leaving Krupa late in 1946, O' Day once again became a solo artist.

Waiter Make Mine Blues - Anita O'Day 1961

01. That Old Feeling
02. Angel Eyes
03. The Thrill Is Gone
04. Detour Ahead
05. Yesterdays
06. Waiter, Make Mine Blues
07. Whatever Happened To You
08. When Sunny Gets Blue
09. Stella By Starlight
10. Mad About The Boy
11. A Blues Serenade
12. Good-Bye



Once Upon A Summertime - Anita O' Day

01. Sweet Georgia Brown 2:56    
02. Love For Sale 3:13    
03. 'S Wonderful 3:10    
04. They Can't Take That Away From Me 1:46    
05. Boogie Blues 4:34    
06. Tea For Two 5:34    
07. Once Upon A Summertime 2:02    
08. The Girl From Ipanema 2:51    
09. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby 4:25    
10. Night And Day     1:59    
11. Anita's Blues 3:35    
12. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square 2:34 


Anita O'Day and The Three Sounds

01. When The World Was Young
02. Someday My Prince Will Come
03. All Too Soon
04. My Heart Stood Still
05. My Ship
06. Leave It To Me
07. Whisper Not
08. Blues By Five
09. In Other Words
10. You And The Night And The Music
11. Let Me Off Uptown
12. My Heart Stood Still
13. Leave It To Me
14. Blues By Five  


Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter with Billy May

01. Just One of Those Things (Porter) 2:09
02. Love for Sale (Porter) 2:44
03. All of You (Porter) 1:43
04. Easy to Love (Porter) 2:03
05. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To (Porter) 1:51
06. I Get a Kick Out of You (Porter) 2:24
07. I Love You (Porter) 1:59
08. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Porter) 1:48
09. Get Out of Town (Porter) 2:32
10. What Is This Thing Called Love? (Porter) 2:32
11. Night and Day (Porter) 2:03
12. It’s De-Lovely (Porter) 2:06
13. Falling In Love with Love (Rodgers-Hart) 1:27  
14. Johnny One Note (Rodgers-Hart) 1:53
15. Lover (Rodgers-Hart) 2:02
16. Have You Met Miss Jones? (Rodgers-Hart) 1:53 
17. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers-Hart) 3:01
18. Spring Is Here (Rodgers-Hart) 2:44
19. It Never Entered My Mind (Rodgers-Hart) 2:24
20. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (Rodgers-Hart) 4:19
21. I’ve Got Five Dollars (Rodgers-Hart) 1:47
22. To Keep My Love Alive (Rodgers-Hart) 3:13
23. Ten Cents a Dance (Rodgers-Hart) 2:17
24. I Could Write a Book (Rodgers-Hart) 2:09

An Evening With - Anita O Day 1955

01. Just One Of Those Things       
02. Gypsy In My Soul       
03. The Man I Love       
04. Frankie And Johnny       
05. Anita's Blues       
06. I Over The Waterfront       
07. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me       
08. From This Moment On       
09. You Don't Know What Love Is       
10. There' ll Medley: Never Be Another You / Just Friends       
11. I Didn't Know What Time It Was       
12. Let's Fall In Love


Anita O' Day And Billy May Swing Rodgers And Hart

01. Johnny One Note
02. Little Girl Blue
03. Falling In Love With Love
04. Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
05. I Could Write A Book
06. Have You Met Miss Jones
07. Lover
08. It Never Entered My Mind
09. Ten Cents A Dance
10. I've Got Five Dollars
11. To Keep My Love Alive
12. Spring Is Here  


Pick Yourself Up - Anita O' Day 

01. Don't Be That Way
02. Let's Face The Music And Dance
03. I Never Had A Chance
04. Stompin' At The Savoy
05. Pick Yourself Up
06. Stars Fell On Alabama
07. Sweet Georgia Brown
08. I Won't Dance
09. Man With A Horn
10. I Used To Be Color Blind
11. There's A Lull In My Life
12. Let's Begin
13. I'm With You
14. The Rock 'n' Roll Waltz
15. The Getaway And The Chase
16. Your Picture's Hanging Crooked On The Wall
17. We Laughed At Love
18. I'm Not Lonely
19. Let's Face The Music And Dance (alternate take)
20. Ivy
21. Stars Fell On Alabama (alternate take)


Indestructible - Anita O' Day  (2006)

01. Blue Skies   
02. This Can't Be Love   
03. Is You Is   
04. All Of Me   
05. A Slip Of The Lip   
06. Pennies From Heaven
07. Gimme A Pigfoot   
08. Them There Eyes   
09. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea   
10. My Little Suede Shoes   
11. The Nearness Of You

Personnel: Joe Wilder (trumpet, flugelhorn); Roswell Rudd (trombone); Lafayette Harris, Jr. (piano); Eddie Locke (drums).


Rules Of The Road - Anita O' Day (1993)

01. Rules of the Road    
02. Medley: Black Coffee/Detour Ahead [Medley]    
03. Shaking the Blues Away    
04. Music That Makes Me Dance    
05. As Long as There's Music    
06. Sooner or Later    
07. What Is a Man?    
08. Here's That Rainy Day    
09. It's You or No One    
10. I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out
11. Didn't We    
12. Nobody Does It Better    
13. Soon It's Gonna Rain    
14. Lonesome Road

Personnel: Anita O'Day (vocals); Jack Sheldon (vocals, trumpet); Sal Lozano (flute, clarinet, saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Danny House (flute, clarinet, saxophone, alto saxophone); Jerry Pinter (clarinet, saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Pete Christlieb (clarinet, saxophone, tenor saxophone); Brian Williams (clarinet, saxophone); Jerry Peters (clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Brian Williams (bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Ron King (trumpet, flugelhorn); Stan "Be Bop" Martin (trumpet, trombone); Wayne Bergeron, Ron Stout (trumpet); Gary Grant (flugelhorn); Bob Sanders (trombone, bass trombone); Andy Martin, Alexander Iles, Bob Enevoldsen, Bob McChesney (trombone); Christian Jacob (piano); Ray Brinker (drums); Patty Holley, Roxanne R. Mayweather, Jean McClain (background vocals).


Live At Mingo's - Anita O'Day (1976)

01. As Time Goes By   
02. Stardust   
03. I Didn't Know What Time It Was   
04. The Very Thought of You   
05. Anita's Blues '76   
06. I Could Write a Book   
07. Sophisticated Lady   
08. I Hear Music   
09. I Cover the Waterfront   
10. The Way You Look Tonight

A solid album by vocalist Anita O'Day that was done in the mid-'70s, but was initially only available in Japan. She subsequently released it on her own label, but it's still not seen widespread distribution and may be tough to find. Her voice was once again in vivid, expressive form after her successful battle with drug and alcohol problems. ~ Ron Wynn

Personnel: Anita O'Day (vocals); Norman Simmons (piano); Bob Maize (double bass); John Poole (drums).


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