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Anita O’Day’s lasting influence as a performer and jazz musician is revealed in a fearless documentary that displays O’Day’s famed beauty and gutsy no-nonsense attitude that enabled her to survive against terrible odds.
A wealth of archive footage from Anita O’Day’s performances with such jazz greats as Gene Krupa, Stan Kenton and Hoagy Carmichael, and candid television interviews, are intercut with interviews of friends and musicians to give added dimension to the woman who best represents herself in front of the camera.
It’s no accident that Anita O’Day belongs to an elite group of jazz singers that include Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald. O’Day’s free-spirited nature that allowed her to fall into a 20-year heroin addiction also allowed her to pull herself out of it and continue to pursue her lifelong passion for singing.
You come away from the documentary impressed by a fiercely individualistic and beautiful woman who lived by her own rules with a fluid mastery of music that few musicians ever attain.
O’Day’s version of "A Nightingale Sang In Barkley Square" is the most lovely and moving rendition I’ve ever heard.
Check it out.
Not Rated. 92 mins.