Feel the sizzle, yo! Anita in her dressing room. Seconds before her landmark Newport Jazz Festival performance. She hadn't yet decided on those white gloves. And she was flying on heroin. Wheeeeee! Years later, having finally kicked the habit, she wowed the jazz world with one of the most jaw-dropping comebacks they'd ever seen. It wasn't just that she survived, though that was part of it, but that she sounded better than ever.
In this fantastic set (a Go, Anita, Go! Cheerful Exclusive for you, your besties and anyone else you feel is deserving), she dives headlong into a wide range of songs from seven decades of jazz . With some, she expands their emotional content, with others, she reduces them to their barest rhythmic components, while several numbers, like "I Get A Kick Out Of You," seem the distillation of purest joy. It's a classic Anita performance and a must for Anita fans everywhere. Who says you can't kick the horse and still have fun?
Speaking of sizzle, let's consider the one and only Nancy Wilson. That smile. It's all about that smile. And the voice. Of course the voice. Did you know? They called her "Fancy Miss Nancy" back in the day because she's simply that divine.
Like many African-American songbirds, she was first noticed in her church choir. In her teen years, she appeared on Ohio's local TV show "Skyline Melodies" - and shortly after became its twice-weekly host (because of course she did). It wasn't long before New York and multiple recording contracts came calling, of course, and she went on to record in all genres, from jazz to blues to funk and everything in-between. She even had her own network TV show, "The Nancy Wilson Show" (because of course she did and who wouldn't want to watch?).
In 1962, she hooked up with jazz ace George Shearing. Classy meets classy, I'd say. This is that rare jazz pairing that gets better with each listening. There's something about Shearing's cool jazz xylophone and Nancy's icy-hot intonation that's just perfect. And, yes, this is a Fancy Nancy Cheerful Exclusive! and comes complete with bonus tracks.
Meanwhile, Marlene. Just Marlene.
Pictured above walking aimlessly in the desert for no good reason other than looking sublime, Marlene has a voice that I cannot defend on rational grounds. It's somewhere between a croak and a snarl, and yet, if ever there was a case where style wins over vocal substance, it's Marlene. She took what she had and worked it like no one's business, and just like Nancy and George, she met her match with Burt Bacharach, though for different reasons entirely. Here it's the sharp contrast between Marlene's smooth as glass, vampish delivery and the feathery good spirits of Burt's arrangements and tunes. Of course, where there's Marlene, there's drama. She was so smitten with Burt during their near decade-long professional run together that when he married Angie Dickinson, she had Dickinson voodoo dolls specially created in South Africa and stuck pins in them.
The Secret Song File was lounging around watching TV the other day and thinking about all sorts of things (shopping, poetry, murder), when she decided it was time to forgo the TV and listen to some spanking new tunes, preferably by an Aussie indie singer who enjoys sitting around (*cough*) as much as she does.
It's a lazy weekend, pedestrian, at best (*cough*cough*), which means that after listening to the CD, she'll yank out the slow cooker, toss a side of pork inside it - because who can be bothered to cook tonight? - and pet the kittykat. By the way, if you need a lesson in lazy, watch a kitty. They're experts.
Don't try anything ambitious like coloring your hair. Not today!
Loaf 'round in the comments, if you like!