Recorded at several sessions during the last several years, this program of standards comes from the heart. Although Anita O'Day's voice has changed considerably, she still swings comfortably with a relaxed composure and a positive outlook. She interprets each of these golden chestnuts with the same confident spirit that she showed us many years ago during her own prime time.
O'Day and trumpeter Joe Wilder, both in their 80s, are almost the same age. Trombonist Roswell Rudd is 70. While his tone is considerably better, none of these three graceful veterans sounds at the top of their form. The years have taken their toll. However, there's sufficient reason to believe that their collective sound would have fared better in a first-class recording studio. On this session, the piano appears to be coming from way across the room, the bass thunks clumsily with the beat, the drum set gets lost in transition, and several horns balance little better than that.
Lafayette Harris' piano interlude and Tommy Morimoto's tenor fills on "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea provide some of the album's better moments. The instrumental arrangement for "My Little Suede Shoes gives the ensemble an opportunity, but the sound mix winds up accentuating the negative. Wilder's tone is airy, and his fours with Morimoto stumble inconsistently.
O'Day closes the album with "The Nearness of You, which features the best sound of the sessions. With this sensuous ballad, all the elements fall into place properly and everyone pulls together. The singer's performance, however, falls into a perilous arena that highlights her raspy delivery, meandering pitch and constricted air flow.