Anita O'Day

In a Mellow Tone

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It is extremely difficult for a vocalist to hide his or her age while singing. Anita O'Day, 69 at the time of this recording, no longer sounded like she had in 1959, but this was actually her best all-around set in several years. O'Day still retained her highly appealing phrasing and most of her range; she still took chances (her version of "I Cried for You" is a good example), and she sounded happy to be alive, having beaten the odds. Gordon Brisker's creative arrangements for the backup group (which consists of his tenor and flute, pianist Pete Jolly, bassist Brian Bromberg, drummer Frank Capp, percussionist Dave Black, and on a few songs the harp of Corky Hale) allow room for plenty of concise solos. On "Anita's Blues," one can almost feel the years dropping away as O'Day hints at her recordings from the 1940s. This fine CD is definitive of Anita O'Day's later years and worth investigating.

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