COMPOSERS: Anita Wardell,Various
PERFORMER: Anita Wardell (v), Liam Noble (p)
CATALOGUE NO: UG CDO 3-0897 (distr. Harmonia Mundi)
Anita Wardell is yet another jazz diva who emerged from London’s Guildhall School of Music and this, her first album, is exceptional. She is accompanied only by Liam Noble, who is one of the most subtle and accomplished of the younger pianists, and his playing reinforces her own qualities – great clarity, beautiful timing and flow and touching emotional resonances.
Wardell has a most artful way with words, yet she’s also a superbly musical scat singer, always investing her wordless improvised lines with sweetly intimate feeling. She wrote the words and music of the title track, which is an affecting ballad, and her singing has something of the immediacy of Billie Holiday.
The other nine performances are all standard songs and ballads, exquisitely performed. She begins ‘September in the Rain’ with some scatting, only singing the lyrics at the end, and during her performance of the lovely ballad ‘Deep Purple’ she improvises round the melody while singing the words. This flawless album glows with artistry and feeling. IC