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Dallas-based singer Laura Ainsworth has a secret identity. By day, she provides witty one-liners and parody songs to radio shows worldwide. But by night, she dons her trademark elbow-length gloves and sequined gowns, and with her beguiling, nearly-three-octave voice, breathes new life into the Great American Songbook that she grew up loving as the daughter of renowned big band sax/clarinet master and arranger, Bill Ainsworth.
Laura’s 2011 debut, 'Keep It To Yourself,' scored worldwide radio play and critical hosannas. AllAboutJazz.com said she is “gifted with a sultry, swoon-inducing croon,” and her debut was “among the year's most consistently engaging jazz releases, performed with class and heartfelt passion.” The Dallas Morning News called her voice “sublime,” and Robert Sutton at JazzCorner.com lauded her as “a funny lady with a jewel of a voice” who “weaves past and present with stunning power.”
Now, Laura and her partner, producer/arranger/pianist extraordinaire Brian Piper, are back, bigger and better, with her new album, 'Necessary Evil', joined by some of the top jazz artists in Texas. Like her debut, it hit Jazz Week’s top radio airplay chart and scored critical raves. Jazz Inside said she had “not only met the incredible standard set by her debut recording but surpassed it,” while others compared it to the classic Verve, Capitol and Columbia albums of the ’50s. TheWorldMusicReport.com hailed Laura as "an exceptional singer, full of grace and color" whose "ability to express the elements of the most classic jazz is incomparable; she is able to subtly display sensuality, darkness, romanticism, naughtiness, and feeling." Most succinct was Koop Kooper, host of the internationally-syndicated radio show 'Cocktail Nation,' who declared simply, 'My goodness, it is brilliant.'
'Necessary Evil’s' theme is love songs with a twist: some heartbreaking, some with a touch of Laura’s trademark wicked humor. The tracks include fresh twists on standards, like her exotic reimagining of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s 'Out of This World,' which was selected for the Goa Chillout Zone Vol. 5 compilation CD. There are also revitalizations of forgotten obscurities and great new songs in elegant styles, such as the instant big band classic, 'Last Train to Mercerville,' featuring an all-star 13-piece horn section.
In the end, we find that for pure, true, eternal love, we must turn to the great old songs that Laura learned as she watched her dad accompany Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme and other musical icons who inspired her to take this great style of music in exciting new directions for the 21st century.