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 News Jazz 13/12/2016

Hard-Swinging Vocal Trio Duchess Release Irresistibly Effervescent Album 'Laughing At Life' Feb 10 On Anzic Records

Hard-Swinging Vocal Trio Duchess Release Irresistibly Effervescent Album 'Laughing At Life' Feb 10 On Anzic Records

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) 4-Night Run Of Album Release Shows Set For 55 Bar In Greenwich Village Feb. 22-25, 2017
Duchess - the trio of rising-star New York singers Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner & Melissa Stylianou - has won hearts far and wide with its hard-swinging, sweet-toned harmonies. The group channels the inspiration of vintage vocal trios into a package that's utterly up-to-date, prompting the Wall Street Journal to say "they understand that swinging music goes hand in hand with an audacious sense of humor." Their new release 'Laughing At Life,' out February 10 on Anzic Records, captures harmony and hijinks with a modern insouciance. Laughing at Life includes beloved songs by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Ray Charles, as well as lesser-known numbers given the infectious Duchess spin.

Laughing at Life - helmed by producer-arranger Oded Lev-Ari - pairs Duchess with an ace New York band: pianist Michael Cabe, bassist Matt Aronoff and drummer Jared Schonig, plus saxophonist Jeff Lederer and guitarist Jesse Lewis. Adding spice are two guest stars: Anat Cohen (clarinet) and Wycliffe Gordon (trombone and vocals).

Album highlights include "Everybody Loves My Baby," a popular song by The Boswell Sisters, a 1930s close harmony trio from New Orleans that have greatly inspired Duchess. For the super-fast portion of the song, Duchess chose to write new lyrics instead of reciting the Boswell Sisters' "Double Dog Latin," a language they made up as kids. The song features virtuosic playing by clarinetist Anat Cohen. Cohen also adds a lovely solo to the moonlit World War II-era hit "We'll Meet Again." Laughing at Life also includes the previously unrecorded "Dawn," a mellifluous, folk-tinged song co-written decades ago by Vet Boswell, youngest of the Boswell Sisters. Wycliffe Gordon contributes textured trombone to ballad standard "Stars Fell on Alabama," along with 'bone and vocal to his ravishing arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Creole Love Call."

Pre-order Laughing At Life here:
Duchess will perform a four-night run of shows at their home club of Greenwich
Village's 55 Bar, February 22-25, 2017. The trio just concluded a 4-set run at the Jazz Standard, the debut performances of the Duchess Variety hour that included special guests Christian McBride and Kat Edmonson. In early 2017 they will also debut their original podcast series, more details TBD.

Duchess formed after all three singers had met and started singing together at the 55 Bar in New York City. Sit-ins and one-offs eventually led to a monthly hit at 55-bar, a recording and then performances at Jazz at the Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz Standard, Jerusalem, Toronto and Ottawa Jazz Festivals, and singing with artists like Christian McBride, Kat Edmonson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeff Goldblum, and others. Each member of the group has released solo albums for Anzic Records to acclaim. The New Yorker says "this fresh-faced triumvirate plays it straight from the heart, leaving any trace of camp or postmodern irony at the door" and Downbeat has called the trio "a beacon of jovial espirit."

Duchess: Laughing at Life
1. "Swing Brother Swing" (Clarence Williams, Lewis Raymond, Walter Bishop)
2. "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields)
3. "Laughing at Life" (Bob Todd, Nick Kenny, Charles Kenny)
4. "Everybody Loves My Baby" (Spencer Williams, Jack Palmer)
5. "Stars Fell on Alabama" (Frank Perkins, Mitchell Parish)
6. "Give Him the Oo La La" (Cole Porter)
7. "Where Would You Be Without Me?" (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley)
8. "Creole Love Call" (Duke Ellington)
9. "Hallelujah, I Love Her (Him) So" (Ray Charles)
10. "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" (Cole Porter)
11. "Strip Polka" (Johnny Mercer)
12. "Here's to the Losers" (Robert Wells, Jack Segal)
13. "We'll Meet Again" (Ross Parker, Hughie Charles)

CD bonus track: "Dawn" (Vet Boswell Jones, John Paul Jones); vinyl-only track:
"Goin' Home"(Antonin Dvorák, William Arms Fisher)

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