Anita Wardell

Until the Stars Fade

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Although not as light and girlish as Blossom Dearie, United Kingdom vocalist Anita Wardell has the same snappy, flawless young damsel delivery that one hears in Dearie. Wardell also has that intuitive feel for framing each song to bring out the best it has, whether the appropriate mood be cheerful and spirited swinging or sophisticated, cultivated elegance. These contrasting stylistic facilities are evident on an upbeat "My Shining Hour" and then on a breathless, expressive rendition of Bobby Troup's rarely played "You're Looking at Me." Wardell pretty much sticks with familiar standards for this, her second album, manifesting once again that these chestnuts of American Popular Song offer many interpretive opportunities that Wardell takes full advantage of. She fools around with the beat on "I've Never Been in Love Before," lagging a bit behind the piano of Robin Aspland before improvising on the melody line for the second chorus as she segues into a discreet scat. On "Love for Sale," she retains the beguine accompaniments that Cole Porter wrote into many of his tunes. She is helped along by some imaginative improvisational piano by Aspland and someone excitable drumming by Mark Taylor. Her youngish-sounding voice adds a dash of sensuality to the ingredients of this Porter classic. This tune is just one example of the amount of time the members of Wardell's quartet are given throughout this session to stretch out. So this CD, while technically falling into the vocal jazz category, has an abundance of outstanding instrumental work as well, adding to the attractiveness of this fine effort. Wardell has a very appealing personal style of singing which sets her a bit apart from most. Recommended.

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