Synopsis by Mark Deming
Born in 1895, Alberta Hunter first rose to fame as a blues singer in the early '20s; Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake, and Sidney Bechet all played on her records, she headlined nightclubs in the United States and Europe, and starred with Paul Robeson in the British production of Showboat in 1928. In 1956, after almost 35 years in show business, Hunter decided to retire from performing, and took a job as a nurse. In 1977, the hospital where she worked, believing her to be 65 years old (they were off by 17 years), gave her mandatory retirement. With little to do, Hunter began performing at a night spot in New York's Greenwich Village called the Cookery; singing with even greater force and personality than she had in her youth, Hunter's shows wowed jazz critics, and she went on to record three successful albums for Columbia Records and score the film Remember My Name before she passed on in 1984. Alberta Hunter: My Castle's Rockin' is a warm and fascinating portrait of Hunter's personal and professional lives, featuring plenty of footage of the ageless diva performing for an enthusiastic audience. Billy Taylor narrates.
blues-music, life-story, comeback, jazz, career-retrospective, concert-footage, retirement, singer, songwriter, nurse