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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" -EPISODE # 34 - "SEX ON A SUMMERS DAY" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "MELLO 'DAY" By ANITA O'DAY IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE -THE CAPTAIN DELIVERS A GEM FROM HIS 8 TRACK ARCHIVE

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“CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL

THE CAPTAIN DIGS INTO HIS 8 TRACK TREASURE CHEST TO DELIVER A DIAMOND

“SEX ON A SUMMER’S DAY

EPISODE 37: MELLO’DAY by Anita O’Day (GNP Crescendo, 1979)

In the classic Jazz documentary JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY, Anita O’Day’s performance is a revelation. Mounting the stage in a sleeveless black cocktail dress, wide brimmed hat, and white gloves, she signals that she’s about to knock your socks off, and she doesn’t disappoint. Singing and swinging Sweet Georgia Brown and Tea for Two, she makes dirty love to the crowd, the band, and posterity, on that hot afternoon, playfully mussing up the sheets of Newport. Five years after her six month stint in the joint for heroin, she looks none the worse for wear. Rivaling Mel Torme’s percussive, octave ranging savoir faire, Anita stakes her claim for the Queen of West Coast Cool Jazz. 60 years later, this impeccably documented set still brings chills.

She made her first splash as Gene Krupa’s girl singer in 1941 with “Let Me Off Uptown”, duetting with Roy Eldridge. Influenced by Martha Raye, the moves and sass maybe copied, but the voice is completely her own. She tells us in her 1981 autobiography “High Times and Hard Times”, that her uvula was cut off during a botched tonsillectomy as a kid, and it forced her to adapt for an inability to cultivate vibrato. Her loss was every Jazz aficionado’s gain.

I scored the MELLO’DAY cartridge in a jazz lot that I bid on because my collection needed some Bebop, and Anita was there for me. She made this record in 1979 at the age of 60, and demonstrated that she hadn’t lost a step. She scats on Them There Eyes as good as Ella Fitzgerald, with Lou Levy on piano and Joe Dorio on guitar matching her step for step. She creates a Samba trance on Meditation with Laurindo Almeida There is a cringe-worthy misstep on “Yellow Days” with its cheesy Chinese figures – clearly a relic of earlier, less “woke” sensibilities. However, overall, this is a welcome addition to my roster of jazz immortals. When this diva died in 2006, at the age of 87, she had come full circle – a stylish survivor of high times and hard times, standing strong against the forces that threatened to dampen her spirit for so long.


By Rich Buckland 11/07/2021 02:03 PM

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