“Singing in a satiny, impossibly old-fashioned, nearly three-octave voice, Ainsworth is the very portrait of West Coast cool…" -- Nick DeRiso, SomethingElseReviews.com
As the daughter of renowned saxophonist Billy Ainsworth, Laura Ainsworth grew up watching her dad accompany such legends as Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. Her first album, "Keep It To Yourself," announced to the world that the sophisticated vocal style of the 1940s and '50s was still alive and well. Now, her second album, "Necessary Evil," extends that legacy of great music even further, and in new and exciting directions.
On the film noir-themed "Necessary Evil," Laura and her partner/producer/pianist Brian Piper (2011 Dallas Jazz Musician of the Year and leader of the Newport Jazz Beach Party spotlight group, the Brian Piper Trio) offer a collection of terrific songs from the 1920s to today, all about love. Not love as a happily-ever-after fairy tale, but love with a twist: songs of heartache, lust, infatuation, fantasy, self-delusion and all the other aspects that sometimes make it feel less like a beautiful dream than a "necessary evil." Love is presented in all its forms, from heartbreaking (Laura's gorgeous new rendition of "My Foolish Heart") to hilarious ("Just Give Me A Man").
Opening with a blast of cool, Vegas-style big band brass from a 13-piece horn section on the title cut, "Necessary Evil" runs the stylistic gamut. Snap your fingers to the irresistibly bopping "The Gentleman Is A Dope"...be enchanted by the lush, exotic world jazz reinvention of "Out Of This World"...be transported back in time with the lilting "Get Out And Get Under The Moon"...and raise a martini to the cynical AC-style anthem to female sexual empowerment, "The Lies Of Handsome Men." In the end, we realize that the only place you can always turn to for true, pure, eternal love is in the great old songs on the jukebox ("I'd Give A Dollar For A Dime").
The album concludes with the brilliant new tribute to the king of romantic standards, "Last Train To Mercerville." Accompanied by a swinging big band and Piper's genius arrangement, this track cleverly weaves together lyrical and musical references to dozens of timeless Johnny Mercer songs. It's a brand new Big Band classic for the 21st century, a natural for standards radio, and a song that Laura believes her late dad would've loved.
So hop on the train back to a time when men donned fedoras to take dames with dangerous curves to swank gin joints, to hear great music by a stunning flame-haired chanteuse who's earning worldwide airplay and gushing reviews. But don't take our word for it. Just check out what the critics had to say...
ADVANCE REVIEWS OF "NECESSARY EVIL"
“Laura Ainsworth is an exceptional singer, full of grace and color in her interpretations…The themes have that night club atmosphere, the songs keep the vintage scene and the musical stage style lives…The popular song (of) the ‘30’s ‘One More Time’ could summarize the talent of this woman. Her ability to express the elements of the most classic jazz is incomparable; she is able to subtly display sensuality, darkness, romanticism, naughtiness, and feeling.
'Necessary Evil' is a smart and brilliant contribution to the world jazz scene; it is a real, passionate and lovely tribute to the composers and singers that some decades ago released these standards; it is a tribute to some key moments in the history of jazz." -- Oscar Montagut, TheWorldMusicReport.com
"I don’t know what’s with this whole femme fatale revival thing, but I like the vibe and I like the records when they are done right, like this one is. With a three-octave voice and a pop that played sax with Sinatra, Bennett, Torme and Fitzgerald, Ainsworth brings a whole lot of other things to the table that make this release stand out at once and pull farther away from the pack with repeated listening. This Juice Newton look alike is full of surprises and is a great antidote to the down mouthed canary. Fun stuff that just screams out for a whiskey neat with a water back.” -- Chris Spector, MidwestRecord.com
"My goodness, it is brilliant." -- Koop Kooper, host, "Cocktail Nation," Sydney, Australia, world's top radio show & podcast for all things cool and swank.
“As sweet-voiced as a meadowlark crossed with a hummingbird…The kind of gig Mae West would uncork champagne to and then sit back in brocade and rhinestones…One can almost hear Tennessee Williams and Oscar Wilde rubbing elbows in the audience.” – Mark S. Tucker, AcousticMusic.com
And for her debut album, "Keep It To Yourself"...
"You can keep all those pop divas. The only one for me is Laura Ainsworth... (She) has beauty, brains, sophistication and comic timing that make her a total performance package...A wonderful modern interpreter of the Great American Songbook, as well as thoroughly modern styles.” – Eric Harabadian, Jazz Inside magazine
“Gifted with a sultry, swoon-inducing croon…The whole album is among the year's most consistently engaging jazz releases, performed with class and heartfelt passion.” – AllAboutJazz.com
"Laura Ainsworth weaves past and present with stunning power... It might not be long before Dallas is not just known for its oil, Cowboys, and J.R. Ewing but a funny lady with a jewel of a voice..." -- Robert Sutton, JazzCorner.com
"Ainsworth’s voice is sublime as it caresses top-notch musicianship by a slew of southwest jazz players… A very warm, elegant album with just enough big stage flair.” – Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News
"She sings the heck out of these songs… Transcendent…Devastatingly beautiful, nakedly honest, and a powerful argument for the ageless compositions that Ainsworth so clearly treasures...” -- Nick DeRiso, SomethingElseReviews.com
"This silky thrush nails song after song…Listeners will find themselves playing over and over…Hopefully, we will hear more of Laura Ainsworth. She’s worth it.” – John Hoglund, Cabaret Scenes magazine, NYC.
"A spectacular CD...Takes the ambiance of the '40's and '50's supper clubs/bands and elegantly mingles that feel with modern day flair...An elegant and classy voice with a sophisticated style...Truly superb." – RadioIndy.com
"A unique gem...The title track opens and immediately transports us to a posh dinner and dancing club with fancy-dressed women and men with cigars. Ainsworth and band play gorgeously together, creating a charming, classic sound…" -- Rich Lopez, Dallas Voice
"The best voice for singing Irving Berlin that I’ve ever heard, at least in this century." -- Jim Compton-Schmidt, "Jazz Building Blocks," KFSR-FM, Fresno, CA.