In 1991, Raymond De Felitta was listening to a Jazz station and heard a singer by the name of
Jackie Paris. Entranced by his style and technique, De Felitta began researching Paris. He
learned Paris had opened for Lenny Bruce, that his voice was admired by among others, Ella
Fitzgerald, Nat Cole and Sarah Vaughn. However, his research abruptly ended when he read in
The Biographical Dictionary of American Music, that Paris had died in 1977. De Felitta thought
that was the end of the story but one night in March of 2004, he was reading the New Yorker
Magazine and saw an advertisement listing Paris' comeback at the Jazz Standard. Stunned, he
wondered where had Paris been all these years, what had come of his life and why had a singer
of this talent fallen into such obscurity.
`Tis Autumn - The Search For Jackie Paris is not just a documentary about a great but
unheralded jazz singer. It's a film that explores the very nature of what it is to live the life of an
artist--any artist. Filmmaker Raymond De Felitta examines the life of cult favorite jazz singer
Jackie Paris, but at the same time he might as well be exploring the life of any artist in any
discipline, too many of whom share the same fate that Paris did the explosive debut followed by
the years of ups and downs, the constant hope that success, though out of reach, is around the
corner, the private tragedies that grow out of artistic frustration, and the final, self-inflicted
wounds which all too often cause the once promising to descend into bitterness and chaos, a
prelude to vanishing completely.
Working with rare found footage and new interviews with jazz legends such as Billy Taylor,
George Wein, Mark Murphy and Ruth Price, as well as the final concert footage and last
interviews Jackie Paris ever gave -- De Felitta constructs an emotional mystery story which asks
the question, who or what is to blame when a great talent goes from sensation to footnote during
their life span?
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Let's fall in love
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Sweet Georgia Brown
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Let me off uptown
More Clips & Interviews
Anita O'Day was one of the greatest American Jazz singers and this critically acclaimed award-winning documentary tells her astonishing story - a journey of survival, and above all the enduarance of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with her and with those who knew her. Her career was long and eventful, spanning seven decades; her last album recorded when she was 84. Anita O'Day only ever wanted to be a singer and the film showcases performances that date back to the 50's with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton.
Anita O’Day was one of the greatest of American jazzsingers and this is her astonishing story—a journey of survival, and above all the endurance of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with her and with those who knew her. Her career was long and eventful, spanning seven decades, her last album recorded when she was 84. This documentary of a legend was co-directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden who produced with Melissa Davis. Anita O’Day only ever wanted to be a singer and the film showcases performances that date back to the 50s with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. She is shown teaching Billy Taylor how to be a jazz vocalist. She speaks candidly, always candidly, with Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble and David Frost, with clips from interviews done on 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning. Bert Stern, commenting on his experience filming Anita perform Sweet Georgia Brown for his film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, said it was the greatest rendition of the song ever made. Anita was a musical genius and pioneer who broke reverse race barriers. She was commonly regarded as one of the top female artists of her time, together with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. The film portrays her as a woman who lived her life the way she wanted without ever looking back. She speaks openly about how she had to overcome great adversities, including a 20-year addiction to heroin and alcohol. She chose never to have children and married for only a brief period. She lived an often lonely life that was sustained only by her passion for music. Personalities talk about her quirky personality, while jazz critics and her few still living contemporaries speak of her extraordinary talent and how amazing it is that she continued to sing for so long. The film shows Anita on tour in Europe well into her eighties and her making that final recording, shortly before her death, the death of an icon.
This film showcases performances that date back to the 50's and clips from interviews on 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning. Anita O'Day: a musical pioneer who broke reverse race barriers and was regarded as one of the top female artists of her time.
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