⟳ Anita’s Blues ⟲
The album, An Evening With Anita O’Day is a great nightclub recording from early on in her Verve contract. Moreover, it sets the tone for Anita’s evolution from big band singer to small ensemble vocalist. It’s here that Anita O’Day gives listeners a rare taste of her songwriting in ‘Anita’s Blues‘. This song is an early, revealing example of O’Day’s growth as a jazz artist.
Anita left Kenton to strike out on her own with a small group. A wise decision, as a big band hindered her need to improvise. Whereas a small group allowed her to take risks and do the unexpected.
O’Day’s best work is in the small combo setting, in which she can stretch out and add subtlety to her singing. In “Anita’s Blues,” a simple blues vehicle, O’Day shines enough to raise the song above standard fare. A smoky, late night atmosphere enriched by a laid-back walking bass line, brush kit and jaunty bluesy piano. Her tremendous sensuality makes every note seem like an invitation to empathize.
Then there is the backing ensemble. Although Anita performed in the studio and live with full orchestra backing, she seemed at her best with a trio.
This is a perfect backing for Anita – accompanied by very effective and coherent piano trio comprised of Bud Lavine on piano, Monty Budwig on bass and John Poole on drums.
Personally, I love her the most backed by a piano trio, like in the ‘Anita’s Blues‘..perfect for the era and her style. Listen to the sound samples on this page to see what I mean.
Low-key, modestly produced, this is best heard as directed — in the evening.
RIYL: Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, June Christy, Helen Merrill, Lena Horne