Anita O'Day

An Evening with Anita O'Day

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A combination of three sessions with three different small backing groups available currently on a Japanese CD -- this is an early revealing example of Anita O'Day's growth as a jazz artist since her days as a big band thrush. Her virtuosity at fast tempos is right on the dot, and she is fearlessly willing to take wide-open liberties with the melodies. The tune of "The Man I Love," and for instance, is completely taken apart and personalized; you wouldn't even recognize it were it not for the words. O'Day also shows us her vulnerable side in a remarkable on-the-edge performance of "You Don't Know What Love Is," and she gives listeners a rare taste of her songwriting in "Anita's Blues." Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow sit in on guitar on four tracks apiece; the other four are with piano trio. Low-key, modestly produced, this is best heard as directed -- in the evening.

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