Anita O'Day, R.I.P.

10832__anita_lAnita O’Day, who died Nov. 23 after a battle with pneumonia, may have been the last of the great Swing Era songbirds. She had a unique, rhythmically complex, instantly recognizable vocal style that was suitable for both smoky, wee-hours cabarets and exuberant daylight performances, like her unforgettable turn at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, preserved in the classic concert film Jazz on a Summer’s Day. (You can see clips from her Newport performance here and here.) She was still singing in 2006 at age 87, releasing the appropriately titled Indestructable! (Listen to snippets of it here.) Her already limited vocal range compressed even further by age and hard living, she still could swing like nobody else. Her own website tells most of the story; NPR has a comprehensive interview and audio profile. Her catalog of releases from Verve, the label she was most closely associated with, is here. Watch for a full-length documentary, Anita O’Day: The Life of A Jazz Singer, in 2007.

addCredit(“Anita O’Day: Walter Daran/Hulton Archive/Getty Images”)

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Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • Ed

    Really Anna, this one?!

  • Lynny

    I knew you would have a comment, Ed! Anyway, mys two cents is that I’ve really enjoyed seeing these R.I.P. things about people I’m not as familiar with because I have been able to broaden my musical knowledge. I love that there are links to more info or performances. Thanks, Gary.

  • Winn

    Ed,
    I just have a question: if you don’t care about a Popwatch item, is it really necessary to make a snarky comment about it, and by implication, those who do? I’ll bet your scroll button works just like mine. Sheesh!

  • Orlando

    Anita O’day you were certainly industructable and you will never be forgotten. You were simply on of the best Jazz singers ever. You will be missed

  • Orlando

    Anita O’day you were certainly industructable and you will never be forgotten. You were simply on of the best Jazz singers ever. You will be missed

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