Re: [JPL] The Ultimate Swinger: Anita O'Day, 1919 ­ 2006

philipbooth at philipbooth at
Thu Nov 30 12:48:36 EST 2006

I just heard a great Fresh Air (Terry Gross) interview with O'Day, 
from about 10 years ago, I think. Gross asked some tough questions, 
and, as usual, had a nice conversation. She played several good clips, 
including "That Old Feeling."

----- Original Message -----
From: Jazz Promo Services <jazzpromo at>
Date: Thursday, November 30, 2006 12:19 pm
Subject: [JPL] The Ultimate Swinger: Anita O'Day, 1919 ­	2006
To: "jazzproglist at" <jazzproglist at>

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> swinger-ani
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> The Ultimate Swinger: Anita O'Day, 1919­2006
> Anita O¹Day, the Chicago-born jazz singer as pioneering, skilled and
> influential as her most vaunted contemporaries (Ella, Lady Day, Sarah
> Vaughn), died at age 87 last week following a bout with pneumonia. 
> Tagged³the Jezebel of Jazz² and ³the Hip Chick² (she actually 
> trademarked the
> latter), Anita was a genius, a brat, a nonstop artist who began 
> singing in
> her teens and never quit. She burned down houses with Gene Krupa 
> (scoring a
> couple of million-sellers with him circa 1939), thundered with 
> Woody Herman,
> spread joy with Stan Kenton. Perpetually restless, she quit every 
> one of
> them, finally landing in postwar Los Angeles and establishing 
> herself as a
> stylist of depth and dynamism with an illimitable capacity for 
> improvisationthat frequently placed her at the top of Downbeat¹s 
> jazz polls.
> By the mid-¹50s, O¹Day launched a stunning series of Verve albums 
> presented her in a variety of settings, using everyone from Oscar 
> Peterson¹strio to Billy May¹s rampaging big band; each was a 
> masterpiece, showcasing
> her untrammeled scat singing and wily, adventurous delivery. 
> O¹Day¹s style
> relied on a cool, almost detached mood, an emphasis on melodic, 
> hornlikephrasing and an open throat designed not to sustain 
> intonation but to propel
> the vocal tone itself forward, a big push that rolled from broad, 
> chestydepths to pristine, crystalline highs. This allowed her 
> phrasing to assume
> highly evocative shading and coloration, weaving around and above 
> melody and meter. 
> O¹day also shot a lot of dope, got busted regularly, did time at 
> L.A.¹sTerminal Island lockup and nearly killed herself with a 1966 
> OD. She got
> clean (but never lost her taste for hooch or weed) and plowed on, 
> playingeverywhere from the Viper Room to Carnegie Hall, right up 
> until this year¹s
> Indestructible album, on which the pipes were shot but the 
> performances were
> as brilliant as ever. Anita O¹Day? The ultimate swinger.
> A memorial service for Anita O¹Day will be held at Hollywood Forever
> Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m.
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