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Anita O'day 1958 at mister kelly's

This is a neat 33 minute set from Miss Anita O’Day, recorded at Mister Kelly’s restaurant on April 27, 1958.

There’s a few other ‘Mister Kelly’s’ recordings by other major jazz stars, such as Sarah Vaughan and lately, exhumed from the vaults, a two disc set from Ella Fitzgerald.
Mr Pinky often muses, when listening to this favourite from Miss O’Day’s canonical Verve period, if somewhere in their vaults more tracks from this session don't exist, sadly gathering dust. Maybe the good people at Verve one day will release an expanded version of this stellar O’Day performance, like the recently released Ella Fitzgerald recordings.
Anita O’Day at Mr Kelly’s has a nice, intimate feel, with Anita accompanied only by drums (John Poole), bass (Larry Woods) and piano (Joe Masters). You hear the glasses tinkling and the cutlery clanking in the background, helping you to imagine yourself in the club itself.
How to describe Anita O’Day’s voice? She’s not an expressionistic singer like Billie Holiday, nor a trilling song bird like Sarah Vaughan. Anita may be able to swing, yet she can’t swing like Ella Fitzgerald.
I would describe Anita O'Day as an elegant, urbane and witty stylist. Her genius is to think up and exexute dazzling vocal improvisations. Watch her dizzying scat singing on Bert Stern’s Jazz on a Summers Day to see what I mean.

Her voice has often been described as like that of a saxophone, and she has been credited as an early bebop innovator. (Her live covers of Miles Davis's Four have often been cited as proof of this.)
To me, Miss O’Day can take a blank sheet of music, and through a process of vocal origami, utilitisng her short, snappy and unexpected phrasings, create for the listener deligtful musical creations.
Style is content for Anita O’Day. In other words, she’s pure class.

Mr Pinky’s favourites on this are the poignant I Have a Reason for Living, and the O’Day standard featuring her signature scatting Tea For Two.
The short running time makes this an elegantly sufficeint little aural morsel. As far as I know, this is the only live recording Miss O’Day did for Verve records, so it’s good to hear her performing live and at the top of her game.

1 But Not for Me Gershwin, Gershwin
2 I Have a Reason for Living
3 My Love for You
4 Varsity Drag Brown, DeSylva, Henderson
5 It Never Entered My Mind Hart, Rodgers
6 Tea for Two Caesar, Youmans
7 Every Time I'm With You
8 Have You Met Miss Jones? Hart, Rodgers
9 The Wildest Cat in Town
10 Star Eyes DePaul, Raye
11 Loneliness Is a Well Albany, Albany
12 The Song Is You Hammerstein, Kern


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