Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Jezebel of Jazz

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release

She Was Known as the “Keith Richards” of Jazz Music. So Why Have You Never Heard of Anita O’Day?

At her peak, she was regularly mentioned in the same breath as jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington. But fame requires both talent and luck, and luck never quite seemed to find Anita O’Day, so today this legend of jazz has been largely forgotten. A cabaret piece debuting at the 2014 Fringe Festival is hoping to change that.

Actress Liz Kirkman learned about O’Day from friend and fellow performer David Goldthorpe. “He was developing a show on Chet Baker and I was envious of having a vehicle that could marry both my acting and my singing skills.” Goldthorpe suggested she look at O’Day. Kirkman did, and recognized a kindred spirit to whom she could relate. She immediately asked a writer friend, Kelli Greene Caldwell, to get started on a script.

The result, titled, “The Jezebel of Jazz: Songs and Stories with Anita O’Day”, directed by Jacqueline Coats, contains scenes from O’Day’s life interspersed with performances of her most famous and moving songs. From start to finish, it is largely a solo performance by Kirkman. Earlier this year, Kirkman performed a shortened version of the play that confirmed she’d made the right choice in choosing O’Day as a subject. “I see a lot of similarities between us. Not wanting to conform to a 'typical' kind of life, a strong, stylistic voice that is not 'pretty,' and we both have big bucked front teeth! In terms of career, Anita always seemed to be missing the bus - solidly working, but not respected in the same way as her contemporaries.” Kirkman muses, “Of course, she had amazing successes and is highly respected amongst jazz musos, but the general populace never took her up in the same way as other singers.”

O’Day’s life was so filled with drama, it’s surprising we’ve heard so little about her. Kirkman laughs, “The drugs, the jail time, the mix of men, the career spanning 8 decades! Seriously, who does that?! What's not to be interested in? She's amazing.” She hopes the performances will give audiences a chance to get up close and personal with one of jazz music’s hidden talents. “Anita was a powerful storyteller. But if you ever see the documentary made on her, 'Anita O'Day - Life of a Jazz Singer' you can see the moment where her story ends and then there's a vulnerability, a weight, a truth that I don't think she spent much of her life sharing. I want to be able to share that character, the 'spinner' that she was, but also moments of that vulnerability behind the facade. And of course, her amazing arrangements, the way she played with timing and her sense of ease and truth when singing. I can't wait to share that.”

Jezebel of Jazz
2014 New Zealand Fringe Festival
Bats Theatre
22nd - 26th of February 8pm I Sunday Matinee 2pm
Full $18 I Concession/ Group $14
Tickets: www.bats.co.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Trading Places

Greg Clydesdale, a lecturer in business at Lincoln University, has written a comprehensive account of global trade from the seventh century to modern times. More>>

Sheep: Shearing Record Smashed In Hawke’s Bay

Three shearers gathered from around New Zealand have smashed a World record by 264 sheep despite the heat, the pumiced sheep of inland Hawke’s Bay and a year’s wool weighing an average of over 3.5kg a sheep. More>>

ALSO:

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    ALSO:

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news