Giving thanks: Duchess celebrates 2 years of #girlongirlharmony
Maybe it’s because November is the second-to-last month of the year, or maybe it’s just because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but the month seems to naturally lend itself to reflection on the past, gratitude for the present, and excitement about what lies ahead. The gals of DUCHESS are feeling especially thankful after a November jam-packed with travel, great gigs, and a very special anniversary (girliversary?).
We had a very fun—if whirlwind—tour last month in chilly-but-lovely Alberta, Canada. After a brutally early morning and long day of travel, we toasted our arrival in Edmonton with beers in steins so large they literally required both hands to lift them. That night, we performed at Yardbird Suite and had a ball singing for a warm, enthusiastic audience. Yardbird Suite is famous for its green room walls, which boast the autographs of jazz luminaries from all over the world, including Clark Terry and Diana Krall, among hundreds of others. We were thrilled to add our signatures, although finding a blank space to sign was a bit of a challenge!
The next morning, our intrepid driver (not to mention pianist and dear friend) Michael Cabe took the wheel of our rental car and drove us all the way to Calgary. We barely had time for a bite to eat before our gig at the Ironwood Stage as part of the JazzYYC Festival. Everyone in the house—audience and musicians alike—was reeling from the day’s reports of the terror attacks in Paris, and sharing our music provided us all with a measure of solace. The next morning, we were up at dawn (again) and at the airport. Two flights later, we were home safe and sound, thankful to be with our loved ones and getting ready for our next round of gigs.
Less than a week after returning from Canada, we returned to our musical home, the 55 bar, to celebrate the second anniversary of girl-on-girl harmony. We’d been advertising a “secret” birthday show, and the show’s location was only disclosed to fans on our mailing list. The house was packed, and our ace band (Michael Cabe, Matt Aronoff, Willard Dyson, and Jeff Lederer) swung like crazy. A couple of special guests joined in on the fun, too: trombonist Josh Brown joined forces with Jeff Lederer on saxophone, and just like that, we had a horn section! Then, our pal Janis Siegel added some exquisite harmonies on “Que Sera, Sera.” We even held a Duchess trivia contest, with Duchess Honey Buns as the prizes! A good time was had by all.
On Sunday, November 21, WBGO’s Michael Bourne brought us out to Newark to be his guests on his fantastic weekly show, “Singers Unlimited.” Michael is witty, erudite, and endlessly knowledgeable about the world of vocal jazz, and we loved spending time with him.
We closed out the month at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, making a guest appearance with the incredible trombonist, trumpeter, and vocalist Wycliffe Gordon. Sweeping views of Central Park in all its autumnal splendor, two sold-out sets, and hanging out with an incredibly swinging, soulful group of musicians…what a way to kick off the holiday season!
Yes, we do indeed have much to be thankful for…and, while we’re counting our blessings, we also want to extend our gratitude to our friend Michael Steinman, who wrote about our anniversary and recent performance at the Rubin Museum of Art on his wonderful blog, JAZZ LIVES. Thank you, Michael!
We wouldn't be able to travel and perform without the love and support of our friends and fans. Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, Amy, Hilary, and Melissa wish you a very happy, healthy holiday season.