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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

AN HOUR OF DELIGHT WITH ANITA O’DAY (Radio 2 Monday Sept. 12)

I would have missed this broadcast, had it not been advertised by Lance on the blog, so thanks are due for that.  Monday’s broadcast in the ‘Strong and Sassy’ series was presented by Moira Stewart with the help of Clare Teal, and included loads of songs from Ms O’Day, and comments from musicians that she’d worked with, as well as recordings of her talking about her life and work.  She came across as a warm, spirited person, with not a trace of self-pity, despite having what was probably a lonely life, and problems with drugs, drink and relationships.  She’s one of my favourite jazz singers, so it was great to hear the lady herself speaking.  I came to jazz too late to catch Ms O’Day during her lifetime.
 She apparently underwent a tonsillectomy which was bungled and part of her uvula was removed, so, as she explained, ever after that she had to shake her head in order to get a vibrato sound!  Well she certainly didn’t let that stop her singing and scatting with great rhythm and speed, as one band leader pointed out.   The songs we heard included Have You Met Miss Jones; Georgia on my Mind; What Is This Thing Called Love (with loads of unusual improvisation); Honeysuckle Rose (accompanied mainly by a marvelous line on the double bass).  Then listeners  were wonderfully surprised by a change of mood, with sensitively sung items such as God Bless the Child and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
The lady laughingly described what she (and many others) considered to be the high point of her career, when she performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, (as seen in the film Jazz on a Summer’s Day).  She quickly went out and bought a long dress and a hat ‘with ostrich feathers’ ready for the performance, and was pleased to be featured in ‘Time’ magazine afterwards.
Catch all this and lots more on the BBC iplayer this week.
Ann Alex.

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