Dallas-based singer/writer Laura Ainsworth has a secret identity. By day, she’s the co-creator of the Comedy Wire radio service, providing witty one-liners and parody songs to top radio shows worldwide. It’s earned her a behind-the-scenes reputation as one of the most-quoted, most-played and least-credited funny women in the world.
But by night, she slides into the spotlight in her trademark elbow-length gloves and sequined gowns. With her beguiling, nearly-three-octave voice, she breathes fresh new life into the Great American Songbook. Her voice is a pure, sexy, pitch-perfect instrument that can hold, float and caress notes in a way uniquely her own, but with echoes of Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Tony Bennett and Mel Torme. It’s not surprising that elegant, supper club jazz is in her DNA, since she grew up watching her dad, renowned big band sax man/clarinetist/arranger Billy Ainsworth, accompany many of those very same musical icons.
Laura creates live shows that usher the audience into her own enchanting world, a cocktail mix combining the retro look of classic club shows of the ‘30s and ‘40s with a sophisticated modern musical sheen and just a twist of flirtatiously naughty humor. It’s an intoxicating blend that has attracted some of the top jazz players in Texas to her side, including longtime partner Brian Piper, one of the most sought-after pianists/producers in the Southwest. Piper has accompanied countless legends, including Mabel Mercer and Cab Calloway, and he was recently honored as a Newport Beach Party spotlight new artist and “2011 Dallas Jazz Musician of the Year.”
Now, the magic they create on stage has finally been captured in the studio with Laura Ainsworth's debut CD, Keep It To Yourself. Produced and arranged by Piper and featuring his ace modern jazz trio (John Adams, Mike Drake) as the core band, the album ranges from contemporary tunes, like the hilarious female revenge fantasy title track (now being pushed hard to AC stations), to fresh new takes on standards such as “Love For Sale,” “Midnight Sun” (a tribute to her idol, Ella) and a “La Vie En Rose” that shifts from lush, French ballad to hot, ‘30’s Parisian jazz, complete with virtuoso violin by Milo Deering of the hot jazz/bluegrass fusion group, Beatlegras. Then there are the delightfully obscure gems that only a musical archeologist like Laura would know. They include a swinging ditty about the woes of dating called “That’s The Kind of Guy I Dream Of (You Should See The Kind That I Get),” cut but never released by the Nat King Cole Trio, and last heard as a Betty Hutton B-side in 1952. And her modern take on Helen Kane’s innocent 1928 hit “He’s So Unusual” reveals a surprising and humorous twist in light of today’s frank sexual mores.
Perhaps the standout is Laura’s haunting rendition of the classic, “Skylark.” While the entire CD shuns modern studio wizardry, “Skylark” was truly recorded the one-fashioned way: live in a single take with jazz guitarist Chris Derose, a favorite accompanist of Michael Feinstein, Patti Austin and Willie Nelson. There are no punch-ins, sweetening or Autotuning, no showy vocal gymnastics to detract from the lyrics. There is just the irresistible combination of a great singer, instrumentalist and song, all coming together to move the soul. That's the feeling listeners will rediscover when they hear Laura Ainsworth's Keep It To Yourself!
|POSTED BY: disturbed3003||POSTED ON: 06 Jun 2011 04:48 PM|
Highly talented Jazz vocalist, Laura Ainsworth, releases a spectacular Jazz CD, “Keep It To Yourself.” Ainsworth, who is accompanied by the Brian Piper Trio and guests, create an album that is overflowing with vibrant passion and soul. She takes the ambiance of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s supper clubs/bands and elegantly mingles that feel with modern day flair. Opening up the album, the title track, “Keep It To Yourself,” reels you in as Ainsworth sweetly expresses her elegant and classy voice with a sophisticated style. Her rendition of the great classic, “Dream A Little Dream of Me,” is truly superb as she spins her own magnetic style to this song. The songs, “Midnight Sun” and Skylark” are smooth Jazz at its best as Ainsworth voice carries with a smooth and silky tonality. If you are a fan of Diana Krall or Ella Fitzgerald, then you will truly appreciate the delectable Jazz songs on the outstanding CD, “Keep It To Yourself.”
-Diane and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team