By Willard Manus
Where would jazz be without its great female vocalists? Right up there for the past fifty years--until her recent death--has been Anita O'Day, who recorded all those splendid lps with Verve and delivered that killer version of Sweet Georgia Brown at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival (catch it on DVD). O'Day's career was sidetracked by battles with booze, drugs and other hangups, but she was a survivor. For proof pick up a copy of INDESTRUCTIBLE ANITA O'DAY, on which the 83-year-old singer belts out idiosyncratic interpretations of All of Me, Gimme a Pigfoot and Is You Is, to name but a few. Hats off to a brave, gutsy trouper whose last CD should be coveted by jazz fans around the world.