Saturday, August 02, 2008

One Little Pinky Finger Up



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Just saw a screening of the Anita O'Day docu, formerly titled Indestructable (now called The Life of a Jazz Singer) after Anita's inarguably unlistenable last recording. With the exception of a few minutes of footage from the sessions for that unfortunate affair and the inclusion of her errononious recounting of arranger Gary McFarland's death, not nearly as bad as I'd expected.
Whether she is the "Jezebel of Jazz" might be debateable (I never even heard her called that until after her death), but in the film she clearly retains her claim to the title of, for once and all time, "The hippest chick on the block." I was especially amused by her recounting of how the idea for the legendary ensemble she wore in Jazz on a Summer's Day, came to her almost as if in a dream and was executed in what would seem to have been fiteen minutes flat. And I laughed out loud several times at Anita's patronizing ways with straight reporters querying her about heroin use. She simply can't hide her amusement over their cosmic lameness.
Made by the same party who also produced the lamented last CD, so only begrudgingly recommended.

4 comments:

Od. said...

Thank you for your comment on the docu! I am very happy if you could also comment on the newly appeared dvd "Anita O'Day live in Tokyo '63". For me as an old Japanese, it is like an reappearence of the long forgotten dream world in which Anita and Japanese cats are still young and so vivid!

Anonymous said...

Hello,
thank you for your comment on the film! I am looking forward to see it. Now I am very hapy if you could also comment on the newly appeared dvd, Anita O'Day in Tokyo '63. For me as an old Japanese it is like a reappearence of a forgotten Dream in which both Anita and Japanese cats are still so young and vivid!

OD.

Bill Reed said...

I assume that the lack of audience was to afford the makers total control over the visual elements but most especially the audio. Also, it allows Anita to play to an audience of one (i.e., you), instead of a faceless crowd "out there in the dark." The end result is a film that is surely the equal of that other great O'Day film, "Summer's Day." Anita never looked or sounded better and the hard swinging band should once and for all time set aside any lingering notions that Nihonjin can't play with just as much as skill and ferocity as their American counterparts.

Once again the Japanese have outdone themselves. This time with the innovation of an audience-less jazz "concert" film. I love this film.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your comment! I am sorry that I have mistakenly posted twice. In a Dutch home page was written that this film is somewhat weird(because of the lack of audience) and there was no chemistry between Anita and back musicians. I am very glad that you have just given the opposite comments. It is naturally true that the horn players of Inomata sextet were rather nervous with the mistress! By the way, Anita’s Japanese lover of this year in Tokyo was the late drummer, Masahiko Togashi, who later became famous also in Europe as avant-garde percussionist on the wheel-chair(it was still before his accident and Togashi played normal drum-set behind Anita in one of her concerts in Tokyo). Old Tokyo, good days!