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San Francisco Film Society
San Francisco Film Society
Robbie Cavolina, Ian McCrudden (USA 2007)

Robbie Cavolina in attendance.
Anita O’Day was one of the greatest American jazz singers, and this is her astonishing story. It’s a journey of survival and a portrait of the longevity of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with her and those who knew her. O’Day’s long and eventful career spanned seven decades, with her last album recorded when she was 84. The film showcases performances with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. Also included is footage of her legendary performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, singing “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Entering a field that was dominated by African Americans, O’Day, because of her musical genius and pioneering artistry, earned the respect of the most hardcore jazz aficionados. Together with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday, O’Day was commonly regarded as one of the top female artists of her time. Calling this a “fast-paced, enthralling film,” Stephen Holden writes in the New York Times, “O’Day, who died two years ago at 87, invented a cool, dry jazz singing style that influenced many. . . . It was all about rhythm, improvisation and hip attitude. What repeatedly comes to mind when people invoke Ms. O’Day is her feral, instinctive drive for freedom, both artistic and personal.”

Photographed by Ian McCrudden. With Anita O’Day, Buddy Bregman, Johnny Mandel, Annie Ross, Billy Taylor. (92 min. Élan Entertainment)
September 26–October 2, 2008
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
DEVELOPER'S NOTE: http://old.sffs.org/content.aspx?pageid=90