“Wings” of courage: Jazz singer Anna Danes meets her first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a survivor
Her second album, “Find Your Wings,” arrives this weekend.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has an entirely new meaning this year for jazz singer Anna Danes. Her life turned in an instant three months ago when she was diagnosed with the disease. When the positive-mind chanteuse steps onto the Jazz on Cedros stage Friday night in Solana Beach, California at a launch party concert in support of her empowering “Find Your Wings” album released that day (and October 30 on iTunes) by DLG Records, she does so knowing how lucky she is. Danes will perform tracks from the intimate acoustic jazz collection of standards and original love songs produced by Dave Darling surrounded by loved ones and supportive people in her life.
“This has been the best wakeup call ever. I’ve never experienced so much love and support from people. So it’s all for the best. And I can also relate to so many other people now affected by this scary disease. I consider myself one of the lucky ones and will take this lesson and fight on their behalf,” said Danes, who is now cancer free although she will be closely monitored via MRI’s and mammograms because of suspicious lymph nodes and conflicting opinions from two different world-renown hospitals.
Last summer, Danes took a mammogram that came back negative prior to undergoing elective cosmetic surgery. Routine labs found the cancer in her pathology that was categorized as “very early and small” yet also “an aggressive grade.” Shaken by the diagnosis, she turned to her own encouraging messages of hope and inspiration. Danes had realized the dream of recording an album in the same iconic Capitol Records studio using the same microphone as her role models, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and she had every intention of sharing the session with the world. Having successfully remade her life multiple times in the past, the San Diego-based former lawyer and stay-at-home mother who escaped communist Poland with her family as a child was ready to embrace the role of cancer fighter, advocate and survivor. Danes is using her health challenge to educate others by recording her experience on a cancer blog, social media and as source material for an upcoming book, motivational speaking engagements and personal growth products.
“Find Your Wings” is about breaking free of whatever is holding you back from doing what you love. Danes co-wrote the original material for the collection that stylistically emulates the starkly-produced vocal jazz albums by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. Darling adorned Danes’ grand and expressive voice with sparse accompaniment from an astute jazz trio consisting of piano, upright bass and drums. Half of the set list is composed of five gems from the Great American Songbookplus a mesmerizing, emotionally-baring tune from blues singer Janiva Magness (“When You Were My King”). While recording the album, Danes invited cameras into the studio to document the experience in this video:
With her health scare apparently behind her, Danes is focusing her full attention on promoting “Find Your Wings.” The radiant and healthy-looking artist recently shared her story and sang live on the CW6 San Diego’s morning news show. Reviewers have called the album “truly stunning,” “hypnotic,” “gentle and soothing” and “haunting.” Below are a few excerpts from album reviews:
“A totally breezy, soulful, joyous collection of Anna’s latest and greatest musical offerings.” – Exclusive Magazine
“I loved sitting and listening to this CD over and over again, each time hearing new little nuances in Anna’s voice, having fun and playing with her group; that just kept me interested and focused on not only listening to the music but immensely enjoying it.” – Critical Blast
“Danes lets the passion flow obviously giving her the confidence to look anything in the eye.” – Midwest Record