Soprano Hilary Gardner joins "Monday Off"


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November 9, 2004: Monday Off, the jazz vocal quartet hailed by Skitch Henderson as having “exquisite taste, rich creativity, fresh ideas, spread over a palate of standard repertoire" is welcoming a new member to their group, Hilary Gardner. The group has already begun recording their second album for release in 2005.

Classically trained vocalist Hilary Gardner began her musical training at age twelve in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. While living in Seattle, Washington, Hilary was much in demand as a jazz vocalist throughout the Pacific Northwest. Hilary studied jazz singing with Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan, and can be heard on Darin Clendenin's holiday recording, “Tidings of Joy and Jazz" (Pony Boy Records). Hilary performed in Seattle's many jazz venues with an impressive roster of jazz luminaries, including Buddy Catlett (Count Basie sideman, Frank Sinatra alumnus), Larry Fuller (Ray Brown alumnus), Jeff Johnson (Hal Galper alumnus), and Bill Anschell (musical director for Nnenna Freelon), among others.

Since moving to New York in April 2003, Hilary has become the featured vocalist of the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, an 18-piece big band led by Mike Longo, longtime pianist and musical director for Dizzy Gillespie. Hilary is featured prominently on the NYSAJE's newest CD, “Oasis" (CAP Records). The CD was released in September, to critical acclaim and is currently receiving radio airplay on jazz stations throughout the United States. She is the vocalist for the New York City based ensemble, “A Touch of Jazz" and recently made her solo debut at the Triad. Hilary has also had the good fortune to share the stage with jazz great Bob Dorough at the Iridium Jazz Club.

John Hoglund of Back Stage says that Monday Off’s “harmonies are good and their delivery is ripe with theatrical emoting…their onstage antics were delightful and infectious. Their program of jazzy standards was full of brio, including several vocalese numbers. Throughout the hour they evoked cheers from their fans and applause in the sold-out room. With the arrival of this happy foursome, it looks like it’s time to make room for another successful combination. These talented guys and gals are on the move and sure to attract a lot of attention.” And Joseph Lang from Jersey Jazz says about Christmas Time Is Here: “Monday Off is a fine vocal Quartet from New York City [whose] rich harmonies and inventive arrangements lend a merry feeling to a program of 17 selections…This recording is sure to add a festive feeling to any holiday gathering.”

Monday Off is a jazz vocal quartet formed in 1999 while the members were touring the country with the Broadway musical Titanic. All four members bring together years of experience in both musical theatre and jazz singing, blending both worlds into one, forming a unique and exciting vocal jazz group.

Monday Off has appeared regularly in clubs in New York (The Bubble Lounge , Chez Suzette, The C-Note ), has performed in venues across the country, on television and radio, and even the Broadway stage. They have appeared twice at Carnegie Hall to sing with The New York Pops , and have since become part of the Pops family, appearing annually with them. They released their first CD Christmas Time Is Here, a collaboration with jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, in 2001. They are recording their second CD that will be released in the late spring of '05.

To find out more about Monday Off, visit the group’s website at www.mondayoff.org. The site contains a more detailed history of the group as well as photos and sound clips.

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