This two-album set has been skillfully remastered and is made up of two spectacular Anita O'Day collaborations. Since there are no sound samples or track listings on this page at the time of this review I will provide links to them for each of the albums that comprise this set.
The first ten tracks is the album titled Anita O'Day And The Three Sounds that was recorded for Verve in 1963. Anita is on six of the tracks backed by the Three sounds, with the remaining four as instrumental performances by the Three Sounds. Gene Harris on piano brings a definite blues feel to each song, with a top notch rhythm section comprised of Andrew Simpkins on bass and Bill Dowdy on drums. They provide the perfect backing for Anita at this stage of her career because there is an edge to Simpkins and Dowdy that matches her own persona.
The real treat and - for me - a highlight is Whisper Not, which features Roy Eldridge playing a muted trumpet solo. When I first heard the solo it immediately stood out because the album is mainly centered around Anita backed by a piano trio. When I looked up who played it took my breath away because it transported me mentally back to her Krupa days when she and Eldridge would do duets.
These are the tracks, which reflect the original release. Some reissues contain bonus material that is not included here.
01 When The World Was Young 3:32 02 Someday My Prince Will Come 4:22 (Three Sounds without Anita) 03 All Too Soon 3:16 04 My Heart Stood Still 3:34 (Three Sounds without Anita) 05 My Ship 4:31 06 Leave It To Me 4:13 (Three Sounds without Anita) 07 Whisper Not 2:55 08 Blues By Five 4:38 (Three Sounds without Anita) 09 Fly Me To The Moon 3:49 10 You And The Night And The Music 2:37
The remaining tracks are from the album titled Time For Two. This collaboration with Cal Tjader is as well done as the pairing with the Three Sounds. Tjader brought to this album a strong sense of Afro-Cuban rhythms, as well as the ability to play laid back, straight-ahead jazz. The former played directly into Anita's percussive singing style, while the latter was a major comfort zone for Anita. There are two examples of music that showcase both the Latin and the straight-ahead pieces on this album: An Occasional Man for the former and I'm Not Supposed to Be Blue Blues for the latter. The chasm between those two styles showcases Anita's versatility.
The track list for this album is: 11 Thanks For The Memory 2:46 12 It Shouldn't Happen To A Dream 3:00 13 Just In Time 2:47 14 Under A Blanket Of Blue 2:23 15 That's Your Red Wagon 2:50 16 Peel Me A Grape 3:03 17 An Occasional Man 2:28 18 The Party's Over 2:21 19 I Believe In You 2:24 20 Mr. Sandman 1:55 21 Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year 3:24 22 I'm Not Supposed To Be Blue Blues 2:34
Of all of Anita's Verve albums, these rise to the top for small group excellence. Personally I find both to be essential, especially for fans who love her later period.
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About the reviewer
Mike Tarrani (mtarrani)
My day job is in the technology sector as an IT consultant specializing in ITIL, and specifically, configuration, change and release management. I've traveled the world as a consultant before moving … more