My Anita Wardell – a gift from Australia…now blooming like a pure white music orchid in London. Her bop signing always so clear and accurate in its linearism – is evenly lovelier now, but what hits me is how expressive her ballad singing now is. In her work, I hear history, music, freshness, and now bravo, Anita…
Mark Murphy, jazz singer
I have been waiting for this CD ever since hearing Anita some years ago at the Guildhall School of Music, where she was a student. I remember being astounded by her improvising, and not relishing the idea of following her in a soloing situation!
This CD has proved worth the wait. Anita has developed into a wonderful singer in all respects. She sings without affectation, and with clarity of voice, which I love. There is however, an unexpected vulnerability which makes her reading of the ballads both beautiful and touching. Her honesty shines in this well chosen collection of songs, beautifully accompanied by the underrated Liam Noble.
Norma Winstone, jazz singer
When your fans are Norma Winstone and Mark Murphy, you’re obviously going in the right direction. Calm and controlled yet energetic and inventive.
Jazzwise Magazine, Nov 1997
Wardell uses scat the way it works best… Stylistically she is clearly a post-bop singer but on this set the needs of the ballads come first, and a fine job she makes of them.
Jazz Journal International, Aug 1998
A jazz singer who can improvise on a song without destroying it in the process, is a great rarity nowadays. Even rarer, is one who can sing wordless scat choruses that make sense. With her clear, tranquil voice, Anita Wardell does both with deceptive ease. Liam Noble’s piano accompaniment matches her to perfection.
Lovely vocals and piano duo (with Liam Noble) on a repertoire of sentient standards in which Wardell provides a model of the jazz singer’s art. There’s no urgent huffing and puffing at the melody, no finger snapping or mad-cap-scatting, just crystal clear diction, sensitive readings of the text, and an acute ear for the meaning of the lyrics
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 – greater 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 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.
BBC Music Magazine, Aug 1998
Anita Wardell sets herself a tough test on ‘Why Do You Cry’ singing some great songs in duet with pianist Liam Noble. But she passes with flying colours, showing herself to be not just an outstanding interpreter of the songs, but an excellent improviser too. Mingus’s piece, ‘Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love’ is quite memorable, more people should do it.
Jazz UK Magazine, Dec 1997
Anita Wardell’s scatting ability is well known and her vocalese improvisations are a joy. But on this CD her approach to the varied material shows a beautiful maturity and understanding of lyrics that is rare. She manages to give these songs a fresh sound while never losing that bebop tradition in which her music is based. Ably accompanied by Liam Noble on piano, they manage to sustain interest throughout. That’s art indeed.
Musician, the Journal of the Musicians’ Union