The Life Of A Jazz Singer
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Anita O'Day only ever wanted to be a singer and the film showcases performances that date back to the 50's with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armestrong and Hoagy Carmichael. She is shown teaching Billy Taylor how to be a jazz vocalist. Bert Stern comments on Anita performing "Sweet Georgia Brown" for his film JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY while George Wein, legendary impresario, states it was the greatest rendition of the song ever made.
She speaks candidly, always candidly, with Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble and David Frost, and in interviews on 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning. Anita was a woman who lived her life the she wanted without every looking back and was a musical genius and pioneer who broke race barriers. She talks openly about how she had to overcome great adversities, including a 20-year addiction to heroin and alcohol. The film shows Anita on tour in Europe well into her eighties and making her final recording shortly before her death, the death of an icon32 page full color booklet including:
Essay by Jim Gavin.
Essay by Will Friedwald
Selected chapter from Anita s autobiography, High Times Hard Times.
16 pages reproduced from Anita s personal scrapbooks.
Top Customer Reviews
My first significant encounter with her music was post Gene Krupa with the release in 1956 of ANITA by Norman Granz and the best version of HONEYSUCKLE ROSE with its solo bass opening and quartet of trombones closing the final chorus. The whole album though, was and remains, one of her best, and one of the best of any JAZZ singer. And that's where her reputation so superbly lies - as one of the very best JAZZ vocalists ever, and an individual woman who was a great survivor in a very difficult business - that she was embraced by the jazz community including afro american musicians, she got through the heroin journey, she overcame the "canary" prejudice of "girl" singer by her musical brilliance in being accepted rather as another musical INSTRUMENT instead of the "front" for a band.
This documentary - one of the best (musical ones) I've seen which was featured in the 2008 Sydney Film Festival - also reveals her character. Moral strength, modesty, honesty, understanding and self awareness and I guess, joy of music, of living, are her distinguishing characteristics.
PLenty of good music in the film as well!!
Story of a great singer/stylist with a dramatic life. Read her book and she for sure was one of a kind and her singing always makes my heart skip and beat faster, love her reditions.
Saw her at the Rainbow Room in '99 and she was well past her prime. Another fan, a girl, and myself asked her if she could sing "Am I Blue" and she said she never heard of it. When we both said it was our favorite she told us to go to the bandstand and sing it ourselves. I was blue after this but after watching the movie I realized I had been O'Dayed by the real thing.
The angels will be hard pressed to keep up with her scat, that is if she made it there but if god loves to swing she is there and doing it her way. Loved her since 1958.
This video documentary is what the fans have been waiting for packed with interviews, performances, and those who she touched over the years sharing their thoughts of the experiences they had. If you buy the DVD, make sure you buy this version with the book, you will not be sorry! Clippings from O'Days personal scrapbook add a touch of insight into this artists world from fame to drugs and jail to her beautiful outlook on life and enchanting spirit.
My only dislike about this product is during the DVD a few interviews take place but it does not state who the person is or the significance of the person in Anita's life. This does, however, only happen on a few occassions but leaves the viewer guessing. If you have NO IDEA who Anita O'Day is and you can't see yourself spending this much money for the DVD with book, then you can purchase the DVD by itself or I would suggest "Jazz On A Summer's Day" which captures an amazing performance of "Tea for Two" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" from Anita O'Day. I simply cannot say enough about this artist, she is breath taking and will be missed.
If you don't know Anita O'Day and are trying to decide whether to take a chance on this DVD, search for her on Youtube first. There, as a preview, you can find her performing a dozen songs. That was where I stumbled onto her. I forget what I was surfing for, but I still remember the first time I watched her performance at Newport '58. I remember the uncanny feeling coming over me that I was seeing a master at work. Since then, I have watched and listened to every performance of hers that I can.
The bonus disk shows her performing 13 songs and by itself is worth the price. The insert is informative and generous, with many good illustrations.
Whenever I turn someone on to Anita O'Day, they have the same reaction: "Why haven't I heard of this person?"
I love Anita, and her music, and this movie. Do yourself a favor, and buy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have watched this three times since I received it. She was an amazing singer, and her life story is great! I really enjoy the bonus video that came with this DVD.Published 11 months ago by Terri
Great DVD. Interviews and discussions with Anita and plenty of performances. I loved it!Published 15 months ago by jwlindahl