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Anita O'Day: A Jazz Star

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Since very early years, Anita O’Day started her career as a singer. She was particularly interested in jazz music. For this reason, she spent a lot of time recording and performing on stage.

She was well-admired by her fans because of her sense of rhythm and dynamics as well as her image of being a mature female vocalist. Her first shows took place at a jazz club called the Off-Beat that was a meeting point for musicians, as for example, Gene Krupa, a band leader and drummer. She then became part of Krupa’s band, thus working together with the trumpeter, Roy Eldridge. As a matter of fact, their duet “Let Me Off Uptown” was a great hit, increasing the fame of the Krupa band.

The prevailing racial stereotypes during 1940s did not permit the public to see normally two people of different color of skin working together as O’Day, a white female and Eldridge, a black trumpeter, sharing the same interest. This clearly reflects the lack of tolerance and respect toward other peoples’ rights. Due to the great success of O’Day, Down Beat named her “New Star of the Year”, and she was also chosen among the five band singers. After leaving Krupa’s band, she joined Stan Kenton’s band whose release of the hit “And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine” was a wonderful success. But, she decided to team up with drummer John Poole, with whom she worked for the next thirty years.

Moreover, O’Day also performed in concerts and festivals with musicians such as George Shearing, Oscar Peterson, Louis Armstrong, among others. O’Day became an international star after appearing in the documentary titled Jazz on a Summer’s Day. Unfortunately, her addiction to alcohol and drugs affected her career because she took various years off to recover her health completely.

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