Long Beach, CA (4 March 2013): Transitioning from straight-ahead jazz and inspirational music to showcase her skillset as a contemporary singer-songwriter, classically trained pianist Peggy Duquesnel got to know jazz fusion keyboard pioneer Jeff Lorber and bassist Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) in order to co-produce “Seems Like I Know You,” a five-song EP that will be released April 16th by Joyspring Music. Duquesnel wrote or co-wrote four songs for the collection, including the first radio single, “When I Think of You,” a soulfully sophisticated R&B groove that gets tasty horn-powered highlights from Rick Braun’s trumpet and flugelhorn.
Gifted with a voice as cozy and as comfortable as Sunday morning, which perfectly matches her girl-next-door demeanor, Duquesnel’s piano pop songs fortified with jazz intonations provide snippets of real-life experiences embellished and enhanced by sterling instrumentation. A joyous love song of immediate familiarity, “Seems Like I Know You” opens the EP with a celestial call and response chorus. Duquesnel and Lorber co-wrote the music for “When I Think of You,” a song of patience, longing and hope with lyrics and melodies that the pianist hatched while on a nature hike. On “That’s How It Always Goes,” Haslip’s somber bass seems to symbolize fleeing love amidst an enchanting sea of sunny optimism in the search for lasting love with Michael Thompson providing a fiery final word on electric guitar. Clouds and heartache don’t stand a chance of lingering on a soothing rendition of the Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays.” Backing vocalist Dee Dee McNeil penned the lyrics to “Bird on a Leash” for which Duquesnel composed the music for the elegant track about the loneliness and isolation that results when a romantic partner is smothered and taken for granted.
“Songwriting has been a natural gift and form of expression for me that I have enjoyed doing since I was 12 years old. I had already recorded several albums of jazz and gospel standards as well as many of my straight-ahead originals, but I wanted this project to showcase my songwriting placed in a more contemporary setting. Many of my songs have been born out of life experiences and it is my hope that the music will touch and inspire others,” said Duquesnel, who went on to explain about her accomplished collaborators that will perform with her at a pair of hometown album release concerts on March 11th in Seal Beach (Spaghettini) and April 22nd in Irvine (Concordia University). “I met Jimmy (Haslip) a few years ago in the recording studio while we both worked on a project for another artist. When he and I first connected to discuss my new direction, he suggested that Jeff (Lorber) would be a good fit as a co-producer. I had been a fan of Jeff’s since high school so the thought of collaborating with both Jeff Lorber and Jimmy Haslip on this project was very exciting for me. Both of them have become mentors and friends.”
Born in Bethpage, NY and reared primarily in Orange County, CA, Duquesnel discovered the piano when she was three years old and grew up singing, playing and writing songs. After earning her degree in classical piano at California State University, Northridge and mentoring by esteemed jazz pianists Alan Broadbent and Terry Trotter, Duquesnel performed and recorded with Dionne Warwick, Henry Mancini, John Pattitucci, Jeff Hamilton, Grant Geissman and Grammy-winner Broadbent. Her first foray as a featured artist came in 1995 as a member of jazz crossover combo Pocket Change (“Higher Altitude”) while her debut disc as a solo artist, “Where is Love?,” was released in 1999 and spotlighted Duquesnel in a trio setting with orchestral accompaniment arranged by Broadbent and engineered by Grammy-winner Al Schmitt. Her five subsequent releases spanned the jazz spectrum along with a couple of inspirational recordings. A passionate proponent of music education, Duquesnel shares her vast knowledge while serving as the Director of Jazz Studies at Concordia University.