IT'S ALIVE: Carmen McRae "Miss Otis Regrets" (1980)
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Today is National Tell A Story Day, and song is one of the most effective ways to spin a tale. In 1934, distinguished American composer and songwriter Cole Porter wrote a chilling tale in the form of the unassuming song "Miss Otis Regrets."
Listening to the delicate music and soothing melody, one can almost miss the violent tale of Miss Otis, a society woman who was lynched by an angry mob after killing her unfaithful lover. In just twelve lines, the story is told from the perspective of one of her servants, who explains to a lunch date why Miss Otis will not be in attendance.
This video finds legendary jazz vocalist Carmen McRae interpreting the song in a 1980 performance. The story comes alive as McRae emphasizes elements of the tale with her masterful vocal choices.