Anita O'Day - The Life of a Jazz Singer

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Arts, Biography Documentary published by Palm Pictures in 2007 - English narration

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Image: Anita-O-Day-The-Life-of-a-Jazz-Singer-Cover.jpg

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Robbie Cavolina & Ian McCrudden: Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer 90 min. – English Production: AOD Productions (USA 2007)

Anita O’Day was one of the greatest of American jazzsingers and this is her astonishing story—a journey of survival, and above all the endurance of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with her and with those who knew her. Her career was long and eventful, spanning seven decades, her last album recorded when she was 84. This documentary of a legend was co-directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden who produced with Melissa Davis. Anita O’Day only ever wanted to be a singer and the film showcases performances that date back to the 50s with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. She is shown teaching Billy Taylor how to be a jazz vocalist. She speaks candidly, always candidly, with Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble and David Frost, with clips from interviews done on 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning. Bert Stern, commenting on his experience filming Anita perform Sweet Georgia Brown for his film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, said it was the greatest rendition of the song ever made. Anita was a musical genius and pioneer who broke reverse race barriers. She was commonly regarded as one of the top female artists of her time, together with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. The film portrays her as a woman who lived her life the way she wanted without ever looking back. She speaks openly about how she had to overcome great adversities, including a 20-year addiction to heroin and alcohol. She chose never to have children and married for only a brief period. She lived an often lonely life that was sustained only by her passion for music. Personalities talk about her quirky personality, while jazz critics and her few still living contemporaries speak of her extraordinary talent and how amazing it is that she continued to sing for so long. The film shows Anita on tour in Europe well into her eighties and her making that final recording, shortly before her death, the death of an icon.

This is the first, definitive documentary on the life of the legendary Jazz vocalist Anita O' Day. In Anita's own words, we hear the tale of a musical genius who broke race barriers and lived her life boldly, unconventionally, without looking back. In candid interviews with the Filmmakers, Anita gives a poignant and often funny account of her jazz oddyssey, that is now well into its seventh decade. With her classic wry wit, Anita speaks with television icons such as Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble, David Frost and Harry Reasoner to reveal why at 87 she is the last living singer from the Golden Age.

The film showcases rare and never before seen vintage performances and includes interviews from vocalists Annie Ross and Margaret Whiting, Jazz Impresario George Wein, award winning arrangers Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Russel Garcia & Buddy Bregman, writer/actor producer John Cameron Mitchell, Joe Franklin and friends from different times in Anita's life.

This documentary features amazing vintage clips from her long career, including jaw-dropping performances from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in which she commands both the band and the audience with a feisty authority not often seen in women of her day. Her refusal to wallow in her misfortunes or play the victim is refreshing. The music in this film will stop your heart; the facts of her personal life will break it.

"A masterpiece of the medium, the documentary relates her extroadinary life story as a musician with no softened edges and plenty of extended musical passages." --LA WEEKLY

"High as a kite and dressed in a chic, white-fringed black hat and matching dress, she's a sight to behold and a supreme pleasure to hear." --Sura Wood, The Hollywood Reporter

"Wow -- now this is how you make a jazz documentary...The film shows everything, stitching it together in a style that brings the classic aesthetic of jazz-record covers to life." --Tom Horgen, Minneapolis Star Tribune

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Overall Bitrate: 1 586 Kbps
Video Resolution: 720x480
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 23.976
Audio Codec: A_AAC
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 1h 31mn
Number Of Parts: 1
Part Size: 1.01 GiB
Subtitles: Japanese,French,Spanish
Ripped by: unknown

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