Anita O'Day / Oscar Peterson

Anita Sings for Oscar

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Originally issued as Anita Sings the Most, this album was picked up by the American Recording Society and sent out to its members as Anita Sings for Oscar. This was her fifth album for Norman Granz's Verve Records, the label that supplied most of the ARS releases and, some say, her best. Pairing O'Day and Peterson was akin to joining Vladimir Horowitz with Arturo Toscanini. It was a mystery as to who would finish first on the upbeat numbers, as both liked to keeping matters moving along at a rather brisk pace. This contest is afoot on the opening medley of "They Can't Take That Away from Me," "'S Wonderful," and "Love Me or Leave Me," where they both manage to finish in a tie. O'Day was so much a dyed-in-the-wool jazz singer that she had no problem staying with the jazz licks of Peterson's combo, which at this time included bassist Ray Brown, Herb Ellis on guitar, and the rare presence of a drummer, here John Poole. This album is noted for its swinging, something that both O'Day and Peterson had few peers at. But the session also demonstrates that O'Day could do well with ballads, a skill that was often overshadowed by her affinity for the fast-paced material. Her work on "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" is simply enchanting. This meeting of two jazz icons results in a major benefit for jazz fans.