Friday, May 27, 2011



Here is Richard Cook cutting to the chase on Anita O' Day from the Penguin Jazz Encyclopedia (2007):

"At fast tempos, she was incomparable. Lighter and more fluent than Ella (Fitzgerald). Less regal but more daring than Sarah Vaughan, she could scat with a dancing ease."

Born in Chicago in 1919, born Anita Belle Colton, she was gone after a stunning and rigorous career stretching from 1934 to 2006.

Two films catch the "Jezebel of Jazz" with essence:: Anita O' Day: The Life of a Music Legend (2008) and Bert Stern's Jazz on a Summer's Day (1958), where the jazz vocalist conceded she was performing at this Newport Jazz Festival date high on heroin.

While the music plays, find her 1981 memoir, High Times, Hard Times. It's written with the same hard swing and Be Bop verve of the vocalist.