Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The pop-jazz singer of the 1940s and early '50s was as much instrumentalist as vocalist, with a voice that could ravish a melody line and then scat away with the sax or the bass and florid improvisational sections.
Appearing Tuesday night at the Waaay Off Broadway (through Sunday), singer Anita O'Day demonstrated the strong melodic sense and playful musically that characterized the best of thescat singers. Her set, which featured old standards such as "Wave" and "S'Wonderful," was a tour de force of vocal acrobatics. Lyrics took various leaps and turns and syllables chatted amiably with the piano, bass and drums of her backup group.
O'Day first became famous in 1941 with the Gene Krupa Band and then went on to sing with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Benny Goodman. She is presently engaged in a tour of the United States and Canada.
At Tuesday night's show, her voice seemed a little tarnished by the years. Her singing lacked some of its former force and some of the higher notes were chopped a bit, but the energy and excitement that she brought to the songs more than compensated for these deficiencies.
Whether slurring a word in a bluesy refrain or growling along with the bass in a fast-paced break, her brisk, husky voice was like a rich multifaceted instrument that stamped each song with her own highly personal style.