From her home base of Dallas to Las Vegas to India
to Dubai, the world is falling in love with Laura
Ainsworth. With her satiny, nearly three-octave voice,
her sexy sense of humor and her trademark elbow-length
gloves and beaded gowns that would fill Julie London with
envy, Laura ushers audiences into her own enchanting
world...a cocktail mix that combines the elegant retro
style of nightclub shows of the ‘40s and '50s with
sophisticated modern musical twists. She calls it
"nu-vintage." 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.
Big band and lounge jazz are in Laura's
DNA. Her late
father, Bill Ainsworth, was a renowned big band sax and clarinet
master and arranger who played with Freddy Martin, Tex Beneke,
Ernie Felice and other top bandleaders, and at age 17, was
possibly the youngest member ever of the Tommy Dorsey
Orchestra. As a young girl, Laura watched enraptured as
her dad accompanied such idols as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett,
Mel Torme and Marilyn McCoo at Dallas' famous Fairmont Hotel
Venetian Room. Laura grew up worshiping the great jazz,
big band and club singers such as Ella, Keely Smith, Doris Day,
Julie London, Margaret Whiting and Rosemary Clooney, as well as
comedienne/singers Madeline Kahn, Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler
Moore. Both music and humor became a big part of her life.
Laura's debut album, Keep It To Yourself, produced and arranged by Sammons Center for the Arts “Dallas Jazz Musician of the Year” Brian Piper and featuring the Brian Piper Trio (John Adams on bass, Mike Drake on drums), spotlights Laura's amazing voice, surrounded by some of the greatest jazz musicians in Texas in a delightful genre- and era-skipping collection of songs from the 1920s to today, from ballads to swing, from standards to obscure gems. Guest artists include the brilliant sax and clarinet player Chris McGuire, guitarist Noel Johnston, violinist Milo Deering of the hot jazz/bluegrass fusion group Beatlegras, and jazz guitarist Chris Derose, who has accompanied such artists as Michael Feinstein and Willie Nelson, dueting with Laura on a stripped-down take of the Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer classic "Skylark." Jazz Inside magazine raved, "You can keep those pop divas, the only one for me is Laura Ainsworth...a wonderful modern interpreter of the Great American Songbook, as well as thoroughly modern styles." Robert Sutton of JazzCorner.com wrote that she "weaves past and present with stunning power." And AllAboutJazz.com raved, "Gifted with a sultry, swoon-inducing croon, Ainsworth can sing any words and command attention…The whole album is among the year's most consistently engaging jazz releases, performed with class and heartfelt passion.” Keep It To Yourself is available at CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and other download sites, and locally in Dallas at Bill's Records. It can also be ordered through any brick-and-mortar store. Click here to buy the CD or download it from CDBaby.com.
second album, Necessary Evil, upped the ante, with Jazz
Inside declaring, "Laura Ainsworth has not only met the
incredible standard set by her debut recording, but surpassed it
with her timeless musical craftsmanship and abundant raw
talent." The album's theme is the darker side of
love. It combines standards, obscurities and new songs in
classic styles to tell a variety of stories of love with a
twist. The film noir theme includes a full big band
featuring 13 of Dallas' greatest horn players on the searing
title cut and the brand new tribute to Laura's favorite
composer, "Last Train to Mercerville." The great Brian Piper is
back on keyboards, production and arrangements, with bassist
John Adams, percussionist Steve Barnes, sax/clarinet virtuoso
Chris McGuire, and major contributions from Rodney Booth's
scorching trumpet, Pete Brewer on flute and Steve Story on
violin. Oscar Montagut at TheWorldMusicReport.com
called Laura "an exceptional singer, full of grace and color,"
and declared Necessary Evil "a smart and
brilliant contribution to the world jazz scene." Preston
Jones of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram said
it "pops in a way that makes you realize just how terrific
old-school jazz can sound in the right hands." Scottish
radio host Richard Irvine called it "reminiscent of those
classic Verve, Capitol and Columbia albums of the 1950s."
And Koop Kooper, host of the internationally-syndicated
"Cocktail Nation" radio show, simply declared, "My goodness, it is brilliant." Like her debut, Necessary
Evil made the Jazz Week top radio
airplay charts. Several cuts also appeared on the
best-selling compilation CDs, Goa Chillout Zone and Independent
No. 1s, distributed throughout India and the
Middle East by WOA Entertainment, which led to a recent
concert tour of India and Dubai. Necessary Evil is available
through all major download sites, and as a CD or download at CDBaby.com!
(But get the CD: you'll want the superior sound quality and the
fantastic cover art and Raymond Chandler-style liner notes!)
long-awaited third album, New Vintage, is coming in
summer 2017, distributed by American Showplace Music, the label
of music industry icon Jack Kreisberg, founder of Half Note
Records and manager of the legendary Blue Note jazz club in
Laura is a three-time nominee for Best
Female Vocalist in the Artist Music Guild
Heritage Awards, and in 2014, was a
double nominee for both Best Female Vocalist and
Best Mainstream Artist. She performed "Last
Train to Mercerville" live at the awards ceremony in
Charlotte that aired as a nationally-syndicated TV special,
featuring Billy Gilman, Gloria Gaynor, Shirley Caesar,
Chubby Checker and other stars. She also recently
filmed a music video for the title track of "Necessary
Evil," which will be released in two versions: the original
big band arrangement and a hot contemporary club/dance mix
by Grammy Award-winning producer, Ricky Kej.
Laura has performed in a variety of venues, including jazz clubs, historic theaters, cabarets, major corporate and convention shows, elegant showrooms such as D'Jango on the Parkway and Bass Hall's McDavid Studio, and even headined two state galas at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion. She has appeared from Dallas to Vegas to Dubai, and her albums have received airplay worldwide. She has also been a guest on countless radio shows from Arizona to Ireland. Notable TV appearances include Fox 4’s “Good Day,” the "Jack E. Jett Show" on the Q TV network, and her own special on Dallas Comcast Cable.
Brian Piper focused on accounting, law and football in college, but luckily for music fans, he quickly changed direction and has been a vital part of Dallas’ music scene for...well, a long time. His resume requires a lot of slashes, as in "Composer/Arranger/Conductor/Performer/ Recording Artist.” One recent title, from the Sammons Center for the Arts, is "Dallas Jazz Musician of the Year."
Brian is an astoundingly versatile musician. His modern jazz group, the Brian Piper Trio, was chosen as one of the spotlight new artists for the 2008 Newport Jazz Fest Beach Party. They have released two fantastic CDs, "Piperville" and "TerrrRIFFic," on 90th Floor Records. A frequent presence in the Dallas Summer Musicals orchestra pit, he has accompanied the national touring companies of such hit Broadway shows as "Wicked" and "The Producers." He has backed legendary stars ranging from Cab Calloway to Mabel Mercer to country legend Jerry Jeff Walker (you can hear him on a number of JJW albums as a member of the Gonzo Compadres Band) and can often be seen tickling the ivories Bourbon Street-style with the ‘Nawlins Gumbo Kings. As owner of Brian Piper Music, he’s created numerous radio IDs and spots for such clients as NBC Sports.
addition to being one of the most awe-inspiring pianists in the
Southwest, Brian is also a proud father of two daughters, Hayley
and Caroline, an avid pilot and a self-described “ski bum.”
PHOTOS FROM DJANGO!
Thanks to Larry Groebe for
these photos from Django on the Parkway...
At the Grammy Museum in
Los Angeles, at the pre-party before the "Grammy Salutes
the Beatles" tribute concert. If this dress looks
familiar, maybe you saw Doris, the owner of the fabulous
retro clothing shop "The Way We Wore," wearing
it in ads for the second season of one
of Laura's favorite TV shows, "L.A. Frock
Stars." It's Laura's now!
Recording at Crystal Clear
Studios in Dallas.
With the fabulous singer/songwriter, Ann Hampton Callaway
Laura with her inspiration
and the man who formed her musical tastes, her late
father, Bill Ainsworth. A prodigy sax man, clarinetist,
singer and arranger, he was playing in Tommy
Dorsey's band at age 17 and worked with many of the
greatest big band leaders. He was also the
clarinetist and backup singer for the Ernie Felice
Quartet, pioneers of "cocktail jazz." Laura grew up
watching him lead radio jingle sessions and play in
showrooms behind such heroes of hers as Ella
Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Mel Torme. The
apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
For more photos, videos, updates, etc., join Laura's Facebook Fan page!
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