Slay 'em, Anita, slay 'em! Anita O'Day always makes me cheerful - on occasion, insanely - and since everything she does sounds so easy, I sometimes imagine myself crooning along with her perfectly. But sounds deceive, and her performances are inspired, so I inevitably shut my big bazoo and just marvel anew at her talent.
"Mello'day," a Smooth Anita Cheerful Exclusive!, features Anita - back in the studio in 1978 with a top-notch trio - singing quite a bit of fresh material, most of which you won't find elsewhere, like her wizardly take on "Them There Eyes," a track which ought to make any Anita fan dizzy with joy. This is late-era Anita at its best, I swear.
Speaking of getting dizzy from good things, I loved "The Great Beauty," a movie which a lot of people haven't even heard of. Without doubt, it's one of the best of the year (and best reviewed, for what that matters), but whether because of poor U.S. distribution or something else, it seems to be getting lost in the shuffle.
If it's playing near you (and it might be), go-go-go before it leaves town:
If you just watched the preview above, you'll have an idea of how much fun (and beautiful) the movie is - and how great it sounds, too, since it also has one of the year's best soundtracks. There's mesmerizing cuts from composers David Lang and Henryk Gorecki, amongst others, and a lot of kicky Euro disco from the likes of Christope Le Friant (aka Bob Sinclar) and more.
I think we need to cool down a bit after all that Italian estasi. Who better (or bettah) then The Son Of Buttah? No, I'm not kidding. He sings. And very nicely.
He may be late at the family game (or conventionally late), yet in his self-titled 2012 EP, he displays a surprisingly rich, melancholy voice, especially on the first track, "Morning Prayer" (which he wrote and composed), and "How Deep Is The Ocean." If there's a danger here, it's that his future tracks might slip into Enya-ish slop - some of the tracks here head into that direction a bit - but so far, at least, this is a winning debut. And again, surprising.
The Secret Song File loves surprises, too, and one of the happiest of the past year - besides this - was the discovery of a certain Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition vocalist (she won first place) and her spanking new CD.
Talent can come from anywhere (The Secret Song's comes from midnight stars, kerosene and a just soupcon of existential ennui), and that includes Miami, where this very young singer was born to a French mother and a Haitian father. Is she a wunderkind, as all the critics are saying? Let's put it this way: if it sounds like a duck, it sure ain't chicken. Happy surprises are the best, don't you think?
I like mine in cash.
Leave your own surprise in the comments, if you like!