My Funny Valentine Live 1955-59
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2012 collection of previously unreleased live recordings from the Jazz vocalist. Anita was known for getting into a contest of virtuosity and inspiration with her ace sidemen on stage. This collection of unreleased prime-period performances finds them battling in brilliant fashion on 'My Funny Valentine', 'You're The Top', 'Varsity Drag', 'The Man I Love' and many more.
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As a fan who both enjoys Anita's music and researches her performances for their historical context, this is a treasure. That is because the performances are live, unlike her Verve studio albums from the same period. Not that there is anything wrong with her studio albums. On the contrary, they are some of her best recorded work. For me, though, Anita is at her best with small ensembles performing live.
Listen to the track samples and let your ears judge whether or not this album is for you. The tracks cover the full spectrum of fast tempo numbers on which she had no equal in my opinion, to ballads that she renders as well as any torch singer who ever set foot on a stage. Examples of the former include Four Brothers and Four. Her rendition of My Funny Valentine is ample evidence of her ability to sing a ballad.
Here is the list of performances that comprise the tracks:
1. Four Brothers (Unknown - possibly October 18, 1959 Stockholm, Sweden with Benny Goodman from In Stockholm 1959))
2. Love Me or Leave Me (July 1, 1957 Los Angeles)
3. As Long As I Live (August 11, 1956 Basin Street East New York)
4. You're The Top (November 12, 1956 Los Angeles)
5. Come Rain or Come Shine (October 18, 1959 Stockholm, Sweden with Benny Goodman from In Stockholm 1959)
6. The Man I Love (November 12, 1956 Los Angeles)
7. My Funny Valentine (July 1, 1957 Los Angeles)
8. S'Wonderful/They Can't Take That Away From Me (July 7, 1958 Newport Jazz Festival)
9. Have You Met Miss Jones (July 7, 1958 Newport Jazz Festival)
10. Varsity Drag (July 7, 1958 Newport Jazz Festival)
11. Four (July 7, 1958 Newport Jazz Festival)
If you are a casual fan or are looking for a sampler of Anita's work during her Verve years (1958-1963), you may find Sings the Winners (Bonus Track Version) to be a better introduction. You may want to also check out 8 Classic Albums which contains half of her Verve albums at a price not much higher than this album,