O’Day, Anita (originally, Colton, Anita Belle)

views updated

O’Day, Anita (originally, Colton, Anita Belle)

O’Day, Anita (originally, Colton, Anita Belle), pop-jazz vocalist; b. Chicago, Ill., Dec. 18, 1919. She was part of the Chicago dance marathons as a teenager. She worked with the Max Miller Band at the Off-Beat Club in Chicago from January 1939, then at the Three Deuces Club with the same band for a year. She joined Gene Krupa in early 1941 for two years. After a brief spell with Woody Herman, O’Day sang with Stan Kenton from 1944–5, and then rejoined Krupa, leaving his band in Hollywood in Spring 1946. She recorded with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Will Bradley, Ralph Burns, Benny Carter, and many others, scoring several hits. She performed mainly as a solo act in late 1940s and 1950s with several long periods of enforced absence from music primarily due to drug addiction. She had a resurgence of activity in the late 1950s, and was featured at Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, and toured Europe with Benny Goodman (1959). During the 1960s, O’Day made many tours of Europe, twice toured Japan, and played club dates throughout the U.S., including a long residency at the Half Note Club, N.Y. in 1969. She did many overseas tours during the 1970s, formed her own label, and also continued to work clubs in the U.S. In 1985 she celebrated her 50th year as a jazz singer at Carnegie Hall. She has appeared in several films, notably Jazz on a Summer’s Day.


Cool Heat (1952); A. O. Sings Jazz (1952); A. O. Collates (1953); Tea for Two (1958); A. O. at Mr. Kelly’s (1958); Jimmy Giuffre Arrangements (1959); Incomparable! A. O.(1960); A. O. and the Three Sounds (1962); Recorded Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival (1970); In Berlin (1970); A. O. Live in Tokyo (1975); Live at Mingo’s (1976); A. O. Live (1976); Mello Day (1978); S’Wonderful (Big Band Concert) (1985); At Vine St.: Live (1991); Live in Person (1993).


A. O.: High Times, Hard Times (N.Y., 1981; new ed. with updated discography, 1989).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Nicolas Slonimsky/Lewis Porter