NEWS - ANITA O'DAY
ANITA O'DAY - OCTOBER 18, 1919-NOVEMBER 23, 2006
Jazz Vocal legend Anita O'Day passed this morning October 23, 2006 at
6:17 am in West Los Angeles. The cause of death was cardiac arrest according
to her manager Robbie Cavalina. Born Anita Belle Colton in Chicago,
IL on October 18, 1919, O'Day got her start as a teen. She eventually
changed her name to O'Day and in the late 1930's began singing in a
jazz club called the Off- Beat, a popular hangout for musicians like
band leader and drummer Gene Krupa. In 1941 she joined Krupa's band,
and a few weeks later Krupa hired trumpeter Roy Eldridge. O'Day and
Eldridge had great chemistry on stage and their duet "Let Me Off Uptown"
became a million-dollar-seller, boosting the popularity of the Krupa
band. Also that year, "Down Beat" magazine named O'Day "New Star of
the Year" and, in 1942, she was selected as one of the top five big
After her stint with, Krupa, O'Day joined Stan Kenton's
band. She left the band after a year and returned to Krupa. Singer
Jackie Cain remembers the first time she saw O'Day with the Krupa
band. "I was really impressed," she recalls, "She (O'Day) sang with
a jazz feel, and that was kind of fresh and new at the time." Later,
O'Day joined Stan Kenton's band with whom she cut an album that featured
the hit tune "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine"
In the late'40s, O'Day struck out on her own. She teamed
up with drummer John Poole, with whom she played for the next 32 years.
Her album "Anita", which she recorded on producer Norman Granz's new
Verve label, elevated her career to new heights. She began performing
in festivals and concerts with such illustrious musicians as Louis
Armstrong, Dinah Washington, Georg Shearing and Thelonious Monk. O'Day
also appeared in the documentary filmed at the Newport Jazz Festival
in 1958 called "Jazz on a Summer Day", which made her an international
Throughout the 60s Anita continued to tour and record
while addicted to heroin and in 1969 she nearly died from an overdose.
O'Day eventually beat her addiction and returned to work. In 1981
she published her autobiography "High Times, Hard Times" which, among
other things, talked candidly about her drug addiction.
Her final recording was "Indestructible Anita O'Day"
and featured Eddie Locke, Chip Jackson, Roswell Rudd, Lafayette Harris,
Tommy Morimoto and the great Joe Wider. A documentary, "ANITA O'DAY-THE
LIFE OF A JAZZ SINGER" will be released in 2007.
For more info visit: http://www.anitaoday.com/
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