Quicksilver Records dug out a true treasure when it reissued Anita O’Day’s Christmas of 1977 recordings session. While this recording came at the end of her accomplished career, it windows the singer and her individual and styled approach to song.
Anita O’Day was raised in the music hotbed of Chicago, Illinois during a time when Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa were frequent performers. O’Day worked her way up to landing a gig with the Krupa outfit which featured Roy Eldridge.
She soon headed east where her voice was recorded masterfully by Norman Granz’s Verve label. O’Day’s approach to singing while not unique, was not an imitation of anyone. Like Billie Holiday, she moved her words in and out of the rhythm with ease and silky smooth transitions and possessed the scatting skills of artists like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. It is this style that she continued to develop and perfect up to and including this recording.
On "There’s Only One," O’Day displays her virtuostic phrasing and silky smooth vocals on such standards as ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “I Cried For You,” and “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You." What an album of songs that have been recorded many times before does for an artist like O’Day is allow her to display her unique voice and vision with a repertoire that is familiar to most listeners. While many artists strike out with these efforts and release nothing but rehashed arrangements, O’Day succeeds by presenting what stands out as an original voice and top-of-the-line presentation. To prove that point the listener need to listen no further than to O’Day’s crooning and rhythmic toying on the album's opening recording of Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing.” The recording sounds fresh, original and at the same time maintains much of the original form.
In this age of cramming as much music as possible onto a compact disc, Quicksilver stays true to the original master and lets it speak for itself without the requisite substandard outtakes, live material, and alternative recordings. This approach makes the listening a pleasure from track one through eight and makes the listener leaving with a smile on their face with a desire to hear more – the mark of a great recording and artist!
1. It Don't Mean A Thing
2. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
3. Old Folks
4. What Is This Thing Called Love
5. Ace in the Hole
6. I Cover The Waterfront
8. I Cried For You
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