Laughing At Life

by Duchess

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    releases February 10, 2017

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1.
Swing Brother Swing
2.
On the Sunny Side of the Street
3.
Laughing At Life
4.
Everybody Loves My Baby (Feat. Anat Cohen)
5.
Stars Fell on Alabama (Feat. Wycliffe Gordon)
6.
Give Him The Ooh La La (Feat. Amy Cervini)
7.
Where Would You Be Without Me (Feat. Melissa Stylianou)
8.
Creole Love Call (Feat. Wycliffe Gordon)
9.
Hallelujah I Love Him So (Feat. Hilary Gardner)
10.
Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
11.
Strip Polka
12.
Here's To The Losers
13.
We'll Meet Again (Feat. Anat Cohen)
14.
Dawn

about

Duchess – the trio featuring rising-star New York singers Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner & Melissa Stylianou – has won hearts far and wide with its insouciant swing, sweet-toned harmonies and a stage presence that has proved irresistible to audiences from coast to coast, across Canada and even in Israel. In the words of The New Yorker, these virtuoso entertainers “traffic in delight,” as they channel the inspiration of vintage vocal trios into a fun-loving package that feels utterly up-to-date. Reviewing Duchess’s 2015 eponymous debut album, DownBeat declared the trio “a beacon of jovial esprit,” with Time Out New York praising the disc as “playful… elegant… winning.” Now Duchess presents its second album: Laughing at Life, to be released by Anzic Records on February 10, 2017. The track list includes beloved songs by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Ray Charles, as well as lesser-known numbers given the infectious Duchess spin.

Produced, like the trio’s debut album, by arranger Oded-Lev Ari, Laughing at Life 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. There are two guest stars: Anat Cohen (clarinet) and Wycliffe Gordon (trombone and vocals). Highlights of Laughing at Life include a finger-snapping take on the Billie Holiday/Count Basie number “Swing Brother Swing!” The band grooves beautifully behind the singers in “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” while Cole Porter’s ballad “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” comes to life thanks to the purity of the Duchess vocal weave. And the trio presents the previously unrecorded “Dawn,” a mellifluous song co-written decades ago by Vet Boswell, youngest of 1930s close-harmony trio the Boswell Sisters of New Orleans, a key historic muse for Duchess.

Laughing at Life also includes a nod to the Andrews Sisters in Johnny Mercer’s “Strip Polka,” with a burlesque-worthy sax solo by Lederer. Cohen threads curlicues of clarinet through “Everybody Loves My Baby” (a popular feature for the Boswell Sisters in 1932), and Gordon contributes textured trombone and voice to his ravishing arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Creole Love Call.” There are solo spots for each of the Duchess ladies, with Cervini taking the lead on Cole Porter’s sweetly risqué “Give Him the Oo La La,” Stylianou on Broadway-via-Carmen McRae number “Where Would You Be Without Me?” and Gardner on Peggy Lee’s customization of an iconic Ray Charles tune as “Hallelujah, I Love Him So.” The bonus track for the vinyl edition of Laughing at Life is “Goin’ Home,” Lev-Ari’s hushed arrangement of the spirituals-inspired melody from Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony.

credits

releases February 10, 2017

Duchess is Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner, Melissa Stylianou
Piano: Michael Cabe
Bass: Matt Aronoff
Drums: Jared Schonig
Guitar (Except 2,4,5,8,12)): Jesse Lewis
Tenor Saxophone (1,3,11,12): Jeff Lederer

Special Guests:
Clarinet (4,13): Anat Cohen
Trombone and Vocal (5,8): Wycliffe Gordon

Recorded May 26, June 4 & 14, 2016 at Sear Sound, New York NY
Engineered by Chris Allen
Mixed by Brian Montgomery
Mastered by Mark Wilder, Battery Studios, New York, NY

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Anzic Records New York, New York

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