Anita O'Day: Berlin, 1970


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By 1970, Anita O'Day was over the hill. At clubs and in concert, she tended to stick with dowdy songs from the swing era that she had been singing for decades. When she took on new pop material, she tended to torture them with her famous note-bending style. And yet O'Day remained an artist throughout, sticking to her guns and treating songs not as pop singers do but as jazz musicians interpret them.

Here's O'Day at the Berlin Jazz Festival in November 1970 with Georges Arvanitas (p), Jacky Samson (b) and Charles Saudrais (d). What's fascinating about this clip is the proximity of the camera. You're so close to O'Day, you can see every nuance of her phrasing and the muscles in her face...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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