Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Art of the Cover - Anita O'Day's "Once Upon a Summertime" (1963)

A lovely cover adorns O'Day's brilliant "Once Upon a Summertime".

The first half of the tracklist (1 through 6) are live from O'Day's 1963 European touring, including Stockholm, Sweden in June 25, 1963. You can actually watch Anita from that era on Jazz Icons: Anita O'Day Live in '63 & '70.

All of the remaining tracks are from studio sessions during the same era. Some people have claimed that this is a transitional album because Anita's recorded output dropped for nearly seven years. I do not go with that opinion because when she did resurface there were no dramatic changes in her performances. Indeed, while her recorded output practically went to zero, her live performing schedule was active. If you have (or obtain) the DVD I mentioned above you will notice that the two performances captured on video show pretty much the same style and energy, even though they were shot seven years apart. More importantly, even if you go back a mere two years to Waiter Make Mine Blues, she sounded pretty much the way she does on this album as well as in 1970. Of course, this is all subjective and the opinion of an aging, near senile fan: me.

There are a number of pianists and bassists on this album, but the one constant is John Poole on drums. As a drummer that fact alone is an ample reason for me to love this album because Poole is one of my influences and inspirations. However, you need not be a drummer or even a musician to enjoy this album. All that is required is an appreciation for Anita and her approach to vocals. That you can sample from the tracks above to decide.

By Mike Tarrani


1. Sweet Georgia Brown
2. Love For Sale
3. S'Wonderful
4. They Can't Take That Away From Me
5. Boogie Blues
6. Tea For Two
7. Once Upon A Summertime
8. The Girl From Ipanema
9. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?
10. Night And Day
11. Anita's Blues
12. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

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