Sunday drives up to Camano Island for the great JazzVox concerts are always so pleasurable but on this particular Sunday, someone extraordinary was about to grace the stage! Revered jazz vocalist Anita Wardell, adorned in blue chiffon with a pink rose in her hair, is the epitome of genuine sweetness and unbridled talent. Anita hails from Britain, was raised in Australia, and found her voice early by tirelessly rehearsing along with the greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She has been acknowledged as a female equivalent of Mark Murphy and possesses that rare combination of soulful lyricism and unparalleled improvisational prowess. She completely charmed the audience with her playful interpretation of such upbeat tunes as “It’s Like Reaching for the Moon” and “In a Mellow Tone”, and her heartfelt, evocative rendition of “It Might As Well Be Spring” and “The Meaning of the Blues”. Local favorite Bill Anschell accompanied her beautifully on piano and always displays such inventive ideas, even exchanging “improvs” with her on “Don’t Be Scared” and “But Not for Me”.
I just love her most recent CD “Kinda Blue” and every song is blues-tinged with the word blue in every title. My hands-down favorite is “Little Girl Blue” written by Rodgers and Hart and sung to exquisite perfection that evening by Anita along with wonderful pianist Andy Carr who sat in. Anita is as fantastic a person as she is a vocalist and we were privileged to have her coach us in a vocal jazz workshop last Saturday. She communicates in such a loving manner her extensive musical knowledge and gives out plenty of moral support with a “you can do it” attitude. If you wish to learn more about this remarkable lady, please visit Anita’s website at www.anitawardell.com for all her bio info, concert updates and Cd’s. Nich Anderson is the gracious host of the fantastically successful JazzVox house concert series and makes it possible for us to see such exceptional local and national artists. For more information and to make reservations for upcoming concerts, please visit Nich’s wonderful website at www.jazzvox.com