Retro-Jazz Singer Laura Ainsworth Reinvents 'Goldfinger'

The new single was released with a lyric video.

By: Feb. 23, 2023
Retro-Jazz Singer Laura Ainsworth Reinvents 'Goldfinger'
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James Bond has undergone a lot of changes in recent years, and retro jazz singer Laura Ainsworth thinks it's time to reimagine some of the iconic music as well.

Even before the new film noir-themed lyric video of her transformation of the "Goldfinger" theme into a sultry lounge-jazz ballad had its world premiere on Ron Hart's "Rock and Roll Globe" website, which normally rarely covers jazz, it was already grabbing attention. As an album track from her new release "You Asked For It," it was immediately named one of the "Best of the Best of the Year" by the international radio show/podcast "Cocktail Nation."

Ms. Ainsworth is known for her smooth vocals and elegant throwback style that's been compared to Rosemary Clooney and Julie London. Her new album is all fan requests, so it's mostly romantic standards such as "Isn't It Romantic" and "Cry Me A River." But how did "Goldfinger" get in there?

She said, "Believe it or not, it really was a request, from the bartender at the Balcony Club in Dallas. I told her I wasn't a belter like Shirley Bassey, but she said, 'Just do it your own way.' So after thinking it over for a week, I came back and did it as a slow-boil jazz ballad with a sexy sax solo. I was surprised myself by how well it turned out!"

She explained, "When I decided to record it, I told my arranger/producer Brian Piper that I wanted to strip out all the 007 elements. Rather than being about a Bond villain, I imagined a woman warning other women away from her toxic ex. I also wanted a cool '60s feel, so I played Brian and the band Burt Bacharach and Hal David's 'The Look of Love' by Dusty Springfield and Brasil '66." She laughed, "I think Brian thought I was crazy, but that happens a lot with my quirky arrangement ideas, and they always seem to work out!"

"I was later surprised to learn from Mark Steyn's 'Song of the Week' podcast that this was similar to how the composers, John Barry, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, originally conceived it. All the Bond bombast was added afterward. People tell me it's made them hear the song in a whole new way. As someone who is always on the lookout for great overlooked songs to revive in fresh ways, that makes me very happy."

While "Goldfinger" might be the most radical reinvention on the album, Ms. Ainsworth made sure to bring something fresh to all the songs, even familiar standards. To celebrate the end of quarantines, she gave the album a jazz jam/cocktail party feel, with her band of top Texas players recording together live. It features fresh arrangements, seldom-recorded verses and a stunning closer in "Over the Rainbow."

She included the rare intro and recorded the vocal acapella in a single take, with Piper later adding a little piano in the studio, a stark reversal of the way most recordings are created today. Her powerful, pitch-perfect vocal, free of Autotune or other studio trickery, strips the song down to its raw emotion and raises goosebumps.

"You Asked For It" is Ainsworth's fourth studio album (there's also a best-of LP and CD called "Top Shelf") and is available in the US as a digital download and a deluxe Japanese import mini-LP CD with poster and bonus track, "As Time Goes By."

It's enjoying rave reviews, including 9 out of 10 stars from Music Connection magazine and the #5 spot on the "Top 10 International Jazz Vocal Albums of 2022" list by CJUM-FM's "Fascinating Rhythm" show British jazz critic Simon Phillips called Laura's vocals "wondrous" and compared the album to Lena Horne, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery and Oscar Peterson. Rhythm" series.

Jazz writer Eric Harabadian declared, "The fiery chanteuse delivers on all levels," and he has described her as "one of the most talented and entertaining vocalists - of any genre or era - on the music scene today!"

Those who want to find out why will find links to all her albums, videos and more at her website, www.lauraainsworth.com.

Watch the new lyric video here:



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