Click individual photos to download hi-res version. Credit: Shervin Lainez
Vocalist Hilary Gardner grew up in Wasilla, Alaska infatuated with New York City. Hilary’s latest release, The Late Set (Anzic), is a collection of piano/vocal duets with celebrated pianist Ehud Asherie and hearkens back to a bygone era of after-hours music making in tucked-away jazz haunts. The album received 4.5 stars from DownBeat Magazine, which named Hilary "an artist to watch" and a Rising Star Female Vocalist after the release of her critically acclaimed 2014 solo recording debut, The Great City.
Hilary is a founding member of DUCHESS, a Boswell Sisters-inspired vocal trio with Anzic Records label-mates Amy Cervini and Melissa Stylianou. In addition to their two critically lauded albums, Duchess and Laughing at Life, they have launched a podcast, Harmony & Hijinks. Duchess has performed at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Jerusalem Jazz Festival. The trio has also enjoyed sold-out appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Rubin Museum.
In 2010, the Frank Sinatra estate chose Hilary to appear as the live, onstage singer in Tony-award winner Twyla Tharp’s Broadway hit, Come Fly Away. Backed by a 19-piece big band, Hilary sang solos and duets with Frank Sinatra in a performance hailed by critics as “wonderful” (Huffington Post), “elegant” (USA Today), and “terrific” (New York Observer).
Hilary performed with Jeff Goldblum and his band at the Café Carlyle, prompting New York Magazine to call hers "a voice worth seeking out." In the wake of her appearance with Goldblum, Michael Feinstein invited Hilary to be his guest on NPR's Song Travels with Michael Feinstein. She was also a guest on Judy Carmichael’s SiriusXM program, Jazz Inspired. Hilary appears as a jazz singer in Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris’s 2017 Netflix mini-series, Wormwood, starring Peter Sarsgaard.
Hilary has appeared as a guest soloist with symphonies across the country, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Carolina Philharmonic, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. Hilary performs as a leader throughout New York City and the United States.
SELECTED press quotes:
"Gardner evokes memories of another time and place." -NPR
"...an uninhibited answer to the young Doris Day." -New York Times
"A voice worth seeking out." -New York Magazine
"Gardner's ready to fly." -Seattle Times
"...a sound and vibe that makes you think she's the secret love child of Peggy Lee and Tom Waits." -Midwest Record
"Definitely an artist to watch." -Editors' Pick, DownBeat Magazine
"...an absolutely first-class singer. She swings effortlessly without making a big deal of it, and she has a knack for hunting down off-center tunes…Yet she’s just as adept at making something fresh and surprising out of an oft-heard chestnut."
-Terry Teachout, Author of Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington and Satchmo at the Waldorf
"(4.5 stars)...a superb singer deserving greater recognition." -All About Jazz
“Gardner’s clear, strong voice recalls the sophisticated stylings of Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day and Peggy Lee, but each song had a bit of personal umami added to the performances, suggesting she had actually lived the lyrics...utterly convincing.” -Thomas Staudter, DownBeat Magazine
"Hilary Gardner is wonderful and deserves a spotlight." -Huffington Post
"The album has both variety and consistency…the capper is ‘Chelsea Morning,’ enlivened with Pan-American percussion and transformed into a mashup of Joni Mitchell and Ahmad Jamal." -Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal
"The tangy-voiced Hilary Gardner performed elegantly." -USA Today
"Hilary Gardner, like the great 'girl singers' of decades past, brings elegance and wit to every song she sings. She lends a touch of vintage cool to new material and makes the old songs sound fresh again."
-Twyla Tharp, Tony & Emmy award-winning director/choreographer
"Hilary is a superb singer: her multi-colored voice, her unerring time, her fine but subtle dramatic sense, her wit, her swinging ability to let the song pour through her rather than insisting that the song sit behind her...don’t ignore the exceedingly talented Hilary Gardner." -Michael Steinman, JAZZ LIVES
"If there is anyone who can evoke the class and sophistication of the 'girl singer,' it's Hilary Gardner. Her singing is effortless and intelligent with a personal warmth and musicality that makes for delicious listening."
-Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), Grammy Award-winning vocalist and arranger