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Anita O'Day: All The Sad Young Men

C. Michael Bailey By

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Jazz on a Summer's Day. There is no better introduction to Anita O'Day than her over the top performance of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Tea for Two" from the documentary of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz on a Summer's Day. She scats and swings through these jazz war horses with a sex appeal as certain as a blown kiss, con brio.

The Ballad. All The Sad Young Men was a pairing of Ms. O'Day with then 27 year old band leader Gary McFarland and a band that contained the likes of Doc Severinsen, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, and Hank Jones. McFarland arranged all of the pieces. By the time this music was recorded, Anita O'Day was already 20 years into her career. She began singing with Gene Krupa in 1941 and in 1944 moved to Stan Kenton's Orchestra, where she stayed a year. She recorded prolifically throughout the 50s and early 60s before heroin addiction derailed her professionally until her comeback in the 1970s.. Ms. O'Day's turbulent life is as honestly documented in her autobiography, High Times, Hard Times as is Art Pepper's in Straight Life or Hampton Hawes' in Raise Up Off of Me, all having very similar themes of Jazz, artistry, and chemical dependence.

Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me. This disc highlight Ms. O'Day's talent with an orchestra with which she has perfect empathy. Ms. O'Day's spunky, daring vocals are still a revelation. She is a singer in the same league as Ella Fitzgerald, but without the latter's expansive breadth. This should in no way portray her as a limited vocalist, she was not. The present re-release is a testament to that fact. She sings the lyrics to the instrumental Jazz standards, "Señor Blues" (Horace Silver) and Al Cohn's "Night Bird" with a style distinctively all her own. "You Came A Long Way From St. Louis" might be the recording's highlight if it weren't for Gene Krupa's "Boogie Blues" or Duke's " Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me".

More, More. A super enjoyable recording, this one. It is released as part of Verve's By Request series. Well, I have a request, Verve...re-release Anita O'Day and the Three Sounds (Verve V6-8514).


Track Listing: Boogie Blues, You Came a Long Way from St. Louis, I Want to Sing a Song, A Woman Alone with the Blues, The Ballad of all Sad Young Men, Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me, One More Mile, Night Bird, Up State, Se

Personnel: Anita O'Day: Vocals; The Gary McFarland Orchestra.

Title: All The Sad Young Men | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


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