Monday’s Music Box: Fly me to the moon…

…with Ms. O’Day…since the Music Box seems to be on a jazz kick lately.

A buddy recently shared (in another internet venue) the classic drum battle between Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich on the Sammy Davis, Jr. show which brought to mind a Verve release I have of Krupa and Rich which then brought to mind Anita O’Day who sang with the Gene Krupa band in the 40’s which then brought to mind one of the first jazz records I ever bought which was Anita singing with the Billy May Orchestra with Cal Tjader on piano which is a fabulous record and ALL this bringing and being brought sent me searching the yoobtube for what I could find.


So.  Here’s a great version of Fly Me to the Moon….

What class.

If you’ve never heard her sing before, you may notice a very unique quality to her voice due to the fact that she had no uvula.  This lent a strange and one-of-a-kind quality to her singing.  Truly a singer with a drummer’s sense of rhythm….or maybe a bass-player’s….her phrasing is truly unique and her versions of jazz standards still sound fresh to this day.

She had her share of problems–heroin addiction, more than one drug-related arrest, six months in prison, heroin overdose in 1968 that nearly killed her–but still and truly a classy lady.

8 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Box: Fly me to the moon…

  1. Fantastic stuff. Truly.

    And what an ensemble. Cal Tjader not only was a fantastic piano player her also was a great vibraphonist too. Got to respect that kind of talent!


    • Glad you dig it J–
      This was recorded in Sweden and I’m not sure who the musicians were. Probably not Tjader. But that album (Anita O’Day Swings Cole Porter with the Billy May Orchestra) is Killer.


  2. And I did not know that about her throat. I always thought she had a unique sound but had no idea. Thanks for that tidbit too!


  3. I really enjoy your Mondays, even if it’s Sunday by the time I join you.
    Fascinating video – gorgeous phrasing, like you said, so pleasurable to hear. But the visuals fascinate me! She’s wearing a business suit and heels (do you KNOW how confining and uncomfortable that is?). It’s like she’s two people: proper pre-feminism lady and let-it-all-hang-out jazz artist. Easy to imagine being born when she was/who she was is at least partly responsible for her need of the needle – trying to live two incompatible lives. (And the ultra polite white audience, hardly moving a finger – wow!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying my musical sharings. They don’t seem to get much traffic, but I like to think there’s still a bit of “my story” to be found in them. They will range far and wide, as the next (and future ones) will show.

      I think it is precisely this dual nature of Ms. O’Day that I find so appealing. I find her story somehow more compelling for the conflicted nature simmering beneath the surface.

      I almost posted this one (during the performance of which she claims to have been higher than a kite on heroin) instead.
      Also a stunning performance (especially Tea for Two–the second number) and MAN! talk about an outfit:


  4. Truly one of the great jazz singers … she had a great sense of timing, and could blend her voice with the instruments — she didn’t sing *over* the music, she was *part* of the music, very much the way Ella was, if you know what I mean;

    I’d not seen the second video before … for being high, she still sounds a hell of a lot better than some of the singers today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes–she was very much a vocal instrumentalist–more than just a singer–like Ella, yes.
      I’d love to see that full movie at some point, if I can find it and time willing.
      Thanks for stopping by!


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