Anita O'Day: Body and Soul
Body and Soul
Russell Garcia Orchestra
Anita O'Day Sings the Winners (Universal 9283)
Anita O'Day (vocals),
Composed by Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, Robert Sour & Frank Eyton. Arranged by Russell Garcia.
Recorded: Los Angeles, September 1958
Rating: 87/100 (learn more)
Although this version is dedicated to Coleman Hawkins, who made "Body and Soul" into one of the ultimate tenor-sax solo vehicles for decades, it is far from the spirit of Bean's historic 1939 rendering. Anita O'Day has way too much personality to be a copycat. With arranger Russell Garcia's help, she reshapes this standard with her vocal virtuosity. After singing the two "A" parts of the song and half of its famous bridge at a slow tempo, alone with the piano, she lets the orchestra in for a joyride of crazy phrasing, where she shows above-human ease with notes and words, before ending with a couple of bars of nonchalant, loose scat singing. It may have little to do with the dramatic content of the lyrics, but it's so classy that we aren't about to quibble over relevance.
Reviewer: Thierry Quénum