Keep the Coffee Coming
is a collection of eighteen small, medium and big band recordings fronted by Anita O'Day from 1952 to 1955. This is the period just prior to O'Day's climb toward her zenith with Verve records. During this period, O'Day was recording for the Norman Granz pre-Verve labels Clef and Norgram. It is not clear where these recordings came from. The selections are from the Anita O'Day book, to be sure.
The disc is kicked off with three tunes recorded with a Ralph Burns group including Roy Eldridge, Budd Johnson and Cecil Payne. On these, O'Day spars well with Eldridge, her old friend from the Swing Era. Here the two find themselves in the coda of bebop, not straying too far from their swing roots, but far enough for the listener to believe the two had been listening. O'Day's scatting on "Lover Come Back to Me shows the artists exciting approach to jazz in her salad days. On "Lullaby of the Leaves O'Day's singing bears a dense resemblance to Billie Holiday. She delivers "Love for Sale in a smart, envelope-pushing manner.
And so the remainder of the disc goes. This is definitely great Anita O'Day, but there is precious little information in the recording's documentation to set these performances apart from her future, better-known Verve recordings.
Personnel: Anita O’Day: vocals, plus others. Tracks 1-3: Roy Eldridge: trumpet; Bill Harris: trombone;
Budd Johnson: tenor saxophone; Cecil Payne: baritone saxophone; Ralph Burns: piano; Al
McKibbon: bass; Don Lomond: drums. Tracks 4-5: Roy Kral: piano; Earl Backus: guitar;
Johnny Frigo: bass; Robert Lionberg: drums; Jim Wilson: banjo. Track 6: Arnold Ross:
piano; Barney Kessel: guitar; Monty Budwig: bass; Jackie Mills: drums. Tracks 7-8: Bud
Lavin: piano; Monte Budwig: bass; John Poole: drums. Tracks 9-12: Johnny Rowles: piano;
Tal Falow: Guitar; Leroy Vinegar: bass; Larry Bunker: drums. Tracks 13-14: Buddy
Bergman’s Orchestra. Tracks 15-17: Paul Smith: piano; Barney Kessel: Guitar; Joe
Mondragon: bass; Alvin Stoller: drums.