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DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Anita O'Day: The Life Of A Jazz Singer

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Anita O'Day Anita O'Day: The Life Of A Jazz Singer AOD Productions 2008Whatever else she was, Anita O'Day was a bundle of contradictions. Though one of the top four or five women jazz singers of her generation, she had little idea what she was doing with her life or where she was going with her art. She led a miserable though long life, was regularly addicted to drugs and alcohol, frequently disappeared ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anita O'Day: Anita O'Day Live in Tokyo '63

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This is a never previously released live set from a highly successful 1963 television concert in Japan. Vocalist Anita O'Day came out of the Big Band Era and after memorable stints with the Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton bands she launched an enduring soloist career that was still going strong when she passed in 2007 at 87.This “new" O'Dayalbum is especially welcome because it is from her peak recording years. The snazzy arrangements by Buddy Bregman come directly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anita O: Live in Tokyo

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Inevitable with the upcoming screening of the documentary Anita O'Day The Life of a Jazz Singer at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival is the release of Live in Tokyo '63. This is the soundtrack to a televised concert in Japan during O'Day's fruitful association with Verve records that was to last the decade. This inevitability is good fortune for O'Day enthusiasts as this concert presents O'Day at the top of her game, still basking in the incandescence of her filmed ...

FIRST TIME I SAW

Who's The Hippest Chick In Town? Anita.

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Who the hell shows up at a midnight jam session at the Loews Sheraton Theater in Greenwich Village wearing white, elbow-length gloves, a little, flowered print dress and a hat that looks like an inverted birdbath? Who dares to show up on stage like that where guys like Zoot Sims and Conte Condoli and Al Cohn are playing? And then proceeds to not merely hold her own on the scat vocals, but to actually kick some ass up there?

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anita O: Keep the Coffee Coming

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Keep the Coffee Coming is a collection of eighteen small, medium and big band recordings fronted by Anita O'Day from 1952 to 1955. This is the period just prior to O'Day's climb toward her zenith with Verve records. During this period, O'Day was recording for the Norman Granz pre-Verve labels Clef and Norgram. It is not clear where these recordings came from. The selections are from the Anita O'Day book, to be sure.

The disc is kicked off ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anita O'Day: Indestructible!

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Recorded at several sessions during the last several years, this program of standards comes from the heart. Although Anita O'Day's voice has changed considerably, she still swings comfortably with a relaxed composure and a positive outlook. She interprets each of these golden chestnuts with the same confident spirit that she showed us many years ago during her own prime time.

O'Day and trumpeter Joe Wilder, both in their 80s, are almost the same age. Trombonist Roswell Rudd is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anita O'Day: Indestructible!

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Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. Take, for example, Anita O'Day's new album. The 86 year-old, who made her name as the lead vocalist for the Gene Krupa Orchestra, hasn't released an album for thirteen years, and the results on Indestructible! are a clear indication why. Her voice has been ravaged by decades of hard living, and her attempts at singing behind the beat show the strain of effort. The shadow of her talent is there, but it's ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anita O'Day: Indestructible!

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Anita O'Day Indestructible! Kayo Stereophonic 2006

In 2003 View Video put out a DVD of one of cabaret singer Mabel Mercer's last performances. She was in the twilight of her life, and every minute of her advanced age was reflected in her loving, yet passionless and cursory delivery of songs she must have sung thousands of times each. The audience was wrapped around her little finger in bittersweet attention, witnessing the denouement of a ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anita O'Day: Indestructible!

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Writer's Note: This is not the original article I submitted for publication. That article lacked a critical compass. I have taken advantage of the Internet and recast my opinions more thoughtfully. I have revised the article to better reflect my active rather than reactive feelings toward Indestructible!. After all, Anita O'Day is a National Treasure. Anita O'Day was born October 18, 1919 as the former Anita Belle Colton in Chicago, Illinois. She began singing in her ...


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