One of our readers (Thank you!) has just informed me that the somewhat obscure but nonetheless, quite wonderful jazz singer Anamari has died recently. Here is her obituary as it appeared on the web site of the funeral home that handled her internment.
Anna Schofield, 70, of Norwich and NYC’s Greenwich Village has flown to her sweet reward. From the arms of her beloved daughter Alana and with loved ones at her side, she passed on November 3, 2010.
Born in Norwich in 1940, the blessed youngest child of Edmund L. and Edith McMullen Schofield, Anna attended Norwich High School and the University of Toronto. Having entered university at the tender age of 16, she found a home in the world of performing arts and soon made her way to Greenwich Village and the life that awaited her. Like many before, she went to New York to discover a side of herself that had yet to bloosom and perhaps to follow the elusive muse that drew her to a life of song and the introspective, beautiful power of music. Quoted in 1963 in an article about her music Anna said, “I’ve only begun to understand why I sing. While singing has always been important, its import grows incessantly. Now, I must sing.”
It’s little surprise that only a year later, in 1964, she released her first album on the Atlantic label. Entitled Anamari, it was produced by Nesushi Ertegun, the famed co-founder of Atlantic Records and was a hauntingly unique example of jazz balladry, a courageous work in that there was no attempt to hide from the intensity of these ballads. The public respected that directness, and combined with her “total involvement in” and the “uncharged uniqueneass” of her performances, her success grew. She toured the country and performed internationally, but was renowned in the jazz clubs of New York City. Particularly important gigs were held at The Village Gate and Gypsy’s and she was often accompanied by some of the most revered jazz musicians of the day, including Jim Hall, Art Framer and Clark Terry.
In 1974, her daughter Alana was born and while continuing to sing and work, Anna focused much of her attention on raising her child, while being the go-to person for her family in Norwich and her circle of friends in New York. Always searching and learning, versed in many disciplines from electric engineering to accounting to health and nutrition, Anna was a source of wisdom, humor, family history and not-so-common sense information for many friends and loved ones. In the 1990’s she returned to Norwich to care for her mother and has since spent much time in the place she refers to, only half-jokingly, as Brigadoon. An inventor of specialty cocktails like the “Hot Edy,” she even titles a favorite one “the Brigadoon” in honor of her home here in the valley. Anna enjoyed her herb garden and her cats and was an unbelievable whiz at crossword puzzles and impossible sodukos, but it was her love of music and of her daughter and family that guided her throughout.
Quoting from her liner notes of one of her albums, “Her performances are always marked by a dignity and originality; and perhaps the most illusive quality of all – honesty – which is a hard quality to come by in a world so predisposed to artificiality.” Knowing Anna, it’s not at all difficult to understand how, even at the age of 24, a writer could see that certain quality in her. The only thing surprising is, over all these years, that honesty and passion has remained; intensified. Even as time began to take its toll on her body, her intellect, passion and honesty flamed as strong and pure as it was when she was a kid.
Anna is survived by her daughter Alana Schofield-Davis and her granddaughter Samara. She is also survived by her two brothers Edmund, of Toronto, and Michael, of Ilion. NY, and her sisters Sarah and Peggy, of Lecanto and Estero, Florida, respectively. She was predeceased by her brother Peter. Included in the list of survivors should be the many nieces and nephews, friends and loved-ones for whom Anna was a buddy, a partner-in-crime, a surrogate mom, a hot meal, and a shoulder to cry on. She will be terribly missed.
Friends a loved ones are encouraged to gather in memoriam at Park Place Restaurant, 7 East Park Place, Norwich, on Thursday, November 11, 2010, from 3 – 7 p.m.
The arrangements are under the direction of the Wilson Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting the funeral home website at: http://www.wilsonfh.com/.
note: Her funeral notice refers to "liner notes of one of her albums." To the best of my knowledge there was only the Atlantic album. An excellent piece of work to be sure, and well worth seeking out. If any readers are aware of others, please let me know.