Anita O’Day – Live At Juan Les Pins – 1966 – Past Daily Downbeat
Anita O’Day – live at Juan les Pins festival – July 23, 1966 – ORTF-Radio, Paris –
Anita O’Day and her group, featuring Tete Montoliu, piano – Eric Peters, Bass and John Poole, drums – recorded live during on July 23rd, 1966 by ORTF-Paris.
No question, Anita O’Day is a legend. Probably an over-used word to describe someone whose work joins those cornerstones of Jazz singing (or “song-styling” as she referred to it) who shaped and helped define Jazz singing in the 20th century, but it’s true. Joining the ranks of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Chris Connor; those singers who brought a distinct point of view to the proceedings and who took the role of singer out of the role of after-thought to a well-deserved place in the spotlight.
And like the others, she maintained intensely true to her vision, effectively destroying the stereotype image of “girl singer” and heading into new territory.
That’s not to say Anita O’Day had an easy go of it, and it didn’t help matters any that she was battling a few demons here and there with a somewhat legendary heroin habit, a habit that nearly cost her life by way of an overdose in 1962 – but she cleaned up, got herself back together and persevered, despite losing labels in the process.
She endured the down-turns, maintained her artistry and vision, and for that she rightfully deserves Legend status.
I think everything Anita O’Day has done in her career that was recorded has been preserved and has been reissued in one form or another. If you aren’t familiar, it really behooves you to go exploring – first checking out the Krupa Big-Band sides. Then sample some of the Kenton era stuff and dive head-long into the solo material (especially the Verve releases).
And above all, check out her performance captured on film from Jazz On A Summer’s Day. That one grabs the converts in a big-big way.
But in the meantime, hit Play and settle in. Short set but sweet.
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