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Anita Wardell Quartet

Friday 17 Feb 2023

Anita Wardell – Vocals / Simon Robinson - Piano
Jeremy Brown – Bass / Steve Brown - Drums

Song Thrush!

We don’t often have singers at Chichester Jazz Club so it was good to welcome Anita Wardell - and a sizeable audience did so with enthusiasm.

Her originally intended pianist was unexpectedly in Japan on the night but Simon Robinson proved to be an excellent stand-in, impressing both the audience and Anita with his fluent and melodic playing.

Anita’s extensive repertoire majors on somewhat lesser known standards often enlivened by her renowned scat singing. She began with But Not For Me and then How Long Has This Been Going On, followed by Lullaby of the Leaves.

Her singing has a relaxed style but she uses dynamics to very good effect. Her enjoyment of her chosen profession is very evident and she quickly developed a rapport with the audience.

Her supporting musicians on this occasion were outstanding in their degree of empathy with her approach, both Browns being on top form and Simon providing a style and quality of accompaniment that clearly delighted Anita as much as it did the audience. On several occasions Steve took the opportunity to use his hands on his kit and was typically adept with brushes on quieter numbers. Jeremy’s solos were strongly imaginative and fluent and drew much appreciation from the audience.

Anita continued with a Brazilian song, sung in Portuguese(!), called Voce e Eu (You and Me) before Body and Soul, the words to which I had never heard before. A Sleepin’ Bee (Bill Evans) and Don’t Get Scared (Stan Getz) were also new to me, the latter being an up-tempo bebop tune with complex lyrics that Anita mastered comfortably and which also gave us scintillating solos from Simon, Jeremy and Steve.

After the interval, You’d Be So Easy to Love and Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most continued to allow Anita to show us her unique talent, the former majoring on scat and the latter a beautiful melody sung languorously yet with complete clarity of diction.

Love for Sale led into This Time, a beautiful and mysterious ballad for which Anita could never find the music and, with Robin Aspland’s help, transcribed from a Betty Carter recording. The Masquerade is Over, Moody’s Mood for Love and Without a Song brought us to the encore, which was East of the Sun, West of the Moon, believed to be the only tune that Brooks Bowman ever wrote!

An evening of no less than fifteen songs from an inspirational artist backed by an outstanding trio.

Photos from the event

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