Anita O'Day - The Life of a Jazz Singer



Green Hills Cinema - Theater 15 Tue, Apr 22, 2008 9:15 PM
Green Hills Cinema - Theater 3 Wed, Apr 23, 2008 1:30 PM
This biographical documentary chronicles one of the most respected female vocalists in jazz, Anita O’Day (1919-2006), who died mere weeks after contributing interviews for the film. Full of great archival footage and interviews with her musical peers and collaborators.


USA 2007, 90 min.

DIR/ED/CAM Robbie Cavolina, Ian McCrudden PROD Cavolina, Melissa Davis, McCrudden MUSIC Anita O'Day

"All you can do in this world is learn to be a good loser," jazz singer Anita O'Day once said, "and come out smiling." Before her death in 2006 at age 86, O'Day, one of jazz's most complex and rhythmic vocalists, smiled on the music world for six decades. This captivating film portrait captures all the magic that took this sly Chicago native, a white girl who could hold her own against Billie and Ella, from Gene Krupa's bandstand to solo stardom. The film, which completed production right before her passing, is packed with great film footage: O'Day's appearance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, immortalized in the 1960 documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day and excerpted here, may be the defining moment of the post-bebop era. Vocalists Annie Ross and Margaret Whiting, jazz impresario George Wein, writer/actor producer John Cameron Mitchell, Joe Franklin and friends from different times in Anita's life talk about their experiences with her. And there are the struggles, too: rape, her failed marriages, fifteen years of heroin addiction. But the feisty O'Day, not wanting to be a victim, shrugs it off as just part of the jazz life. Like the woman herself, Anita O'Day hits all the right notes and, despite the pain and struggle, ends with a smile.

In attendance: Robbie Cavolina

Sponsored by Jazz 88


 Melissa Davis

AOD Productions