Anita Wardell is one of England's best-kept secrets, but with talent like hers she won't be a secret for much longer. Possessing a natural swing and scatting ability like Kitty Margolis but with the sensuality of Julie London, Wardell is the complete jazz singer. Her sidemen are extremely gifted soloists in their own rights, and hearing this album should make North American jazz fans with the wherewithal want to hop the next plane to Ronnie Scott's when Wardell's quartet plays there the next time.
Until the Stars Fade contains only standards, but they are all performed with new interpretations that make the tunes sound as fresh as the day they were composed. The latin groove is a particularly nice touch to Bobby Troup's tragically-neglected classic "You're Looking at Me." Nothing short of amazing is the complete reharmonization of Rogers and Hammerstein's "People Will Say We're in Love." In the hands of Wardell and company the tune sounds as though it were composed by Herbie Hancock or McCoy Tyner.
Wardell also knows how to sing a torch song, and her rendition of "For All We Know" is particularly lugubrious and poignant. But when it comes to scatting, Wardell is right up there with Kurt Elling and Mark Murphy. Her performances of "Devil May Care" (most recently recorded by Diana Krall), "I've Never Been in Love Before" and "My Shining Hour" are masterpieces of vocal improvisation.
Anita Wardell is an amazing talent whose artistry deserves much wider recognition. Until the Stars Fade is a flawless recording of a great jazz singer at the top of her game.
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Personnel: Anita Wardell, voice; Robin Aspland, piano; Jeremy Brown, bass; Gene
Caldarazzo, drums; Mark Taylor, drums