Anita O’Day: Docu of Jazz Singer

“Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer,” a documentary directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden, and produced by Melissa Davis along with Cavolina and McCrudden, will open its New York engagement at the Cinema Village on August 15, 2008.

The film chronicles the extraordinary life of Anita ODay, one of the most legendary female jazz vocalists of all time. It has played in more than two dozen national and international film festivals winning accolades and awards along the way.

The docu is an intimate portrait of the maverick jazz vocalist Anita ODay, a self-professed song-stylist and rightly known as one of the greatest jazz divas of all time. Filmmakers Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden have devoted four years in order to perfectly capture ODays seven decade career.

The feature chronicles her wild ride; following her career from the early days singing alongside the likes of Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael through her many great adversities which she fought to overcome; a 20-year heroin and alcohol addiction, several failed marriages, abortions and arrests and finally, her last-hurrah album, completed just before the singers 2006 death at age 87.

There’s incredible footage from her incomparable career starting as far back as the 1940s through the recording of her last album, and the joy of hearing a woman do what she did best–sing. We see, and hear Anita singing more than 30 songs, including “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “Let Me Off Uptown,” “Honeysuckle Rose, “Tea for Two,” “Let’s Fall in Love” and from her legendary performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Sweet Georgia Brown.

Aside from being a musical genius, Anita O Days captivating stage presence, sophisticated good looks, unique phrasing and rich smoky voice made her an inspirational performer and the only white female singer considered to be in the same jazz league as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan. That she failed to attain the fame of the aforementioned greats was in part because of her being her own worst enemy. This and more is discussed by a roster of record industry professionals, jazz critics and musicians.