Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jezebel of Jazz

Anita O'Day from her album "Incomparable" (1964)

With a style that was as cool as the other side of the pillow, Anita O'Day was the quintessential hipster of '50s era jazz, enchanting her audiences with a voice as rich and sweet as honey.

By turns playful, sultry, or sad, her voice ran deep with passion. Yet, Anita kept a sharp beat driving her lyrics with a percussive tightness. Words were too precious to waste on empty flourishes and, like a “Beat era” poet, she measured her phrases for maximized effect.

And her bebop talents for improvisation were without peer. Other songbirds might have greater range or longer phrasing and that's admirable, but Anita O'Day had precision. She was the unrivaled Mistress of Metre.

Anita O'Day was born on October 18, 1919.

So, let's take this day to remember the classy Queen of Cool.

And we can't wrap up this post without a photo from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. I think it's mandated for any article about Anita. ;-)

Anita O'Day at the Newport Jazz Festival, 1958.

Here are some vids.


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