Gina McLaughlin

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Discography of Gina McLaughlin:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 Dreamer 9 Audio 2001 Black Lake Records

Born in Boston Massachusetts, Gina was exposed to jazz as a very young child by her parents. Life long jazz enthusiasts, her father’s cousin, Dick McDonough, was a famous New York guitarist in the late 20’s and 30’s who played with all the greats, as a session player. Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Red Norvo, Johnny Mercer, Billie Holiday, and Fats Waller were just a few of the people with whom he had played. Her parents saw many of these performers in the 30’s.

Being second to the youngest of 9 children, when she was young; starting at 8 or 9 years of age, her parents would take her to piano bars in the Boston area. Teddy Wilson had a steady at the Copley Plaza Hotel in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, the most famous of players they would take she and her sister to listen to live.

The stories her parents told, and the immersion into the music affected her choice of career unwittingly. Thinking she would be a punk rock star in the 70’s, she came across an Ella Fitzgerald album, and realized she knew the all tunes and became infatuated with jazz.

This was the beginning of a life spent trying to become a jazz singer. Leaving Boston in the 80’s, she moved to Hollywood and sang jazz tunes, acapella, in front of rock bands, just to be heard.

While she was in L.A. she met people who were starting a theater company in Chicago, so she left for the Windy City in 1986. It took time and work to find musicians, but eventually, she put together her first band in the early ‘90s, The Stepchildren, at a neighborhood bar in Bucktown.

It’s been a long journey to get where she is today vocally. The great musicians and teachers she has met in Chicago (and Seattle) have schooled her in the fine-tuning of creating great music, and presenting a solid, swinging, experience to an audience.

From intimate settings to big rooms, Gina gets her audience to fully experience the depth and emotion of the great jazz compositions.

Here are a few endorsements:

"Close your eyes when you see Gina McLaughlin perform for the first time, and you’d be forgiven for experiencing the brief but exhilarating sensation of time travel. Is that a little Ella? An echo of Nina Simone? Does any vocalist swing and sway so effortlessly, so innately, so delicately anymore?

But then you’ll hear something else: the sly disobedience in the phrasing, an implied wink in the delivery of a lyric, an undeniably contemporary sensibility pervading even the most road-tested ballads. Transported back to the present, you realize that McLaughlin is no mere throwback, no rote imitator, but the rare artist who manages the feat of sounding both timeless and entirely of the moment, often in the space of a single verse.

Even the voice itself performs an impressive balancing act. Girlish but with hints of the melancholy of bitter letdowns and hard-won victories, lush but capable of pith, poignancy and dark Irish humor, it’s an instrument McLaughlin applies with a deft and graceful touch, coaxing – never cajoling – her audience to her side.

'Sophisticated' is an adjective one is tempted to hang on this particular brand of jazz. But listen close and, like her formidable influences, McLaughlin reveals herself to be more subversive fun than that label implies. There is mischief in this music. When she sings – as she does – of that 'Old Devil Moon,' you can’t help but see it rising impishly over the tree line, stirring not just the heart but those primitive places a less accomplished, a less real, vocalist would never dare to go.”

– Rob Brookman (musician, owner: Lost in America Records)

“It’s always curious to me that Gina’s speaking voice by day is a complete dichotomy with her singing voice by night.…I can never believe it comes from the same larynx! Husky, raspy, and almost a whiskey-voice by day, her singing voice is soft, smooth, gentle, and absolutely arresting in its tonal quality and expression by night. Her interpolation of songs like 'Where Is Love' and 'Day by Day', or 'I’ve Never Been in Love Before' are so moving and yet so beautifully cushioned in that velvety night-time sound that she somehow brings forth in an astounding range and quality, is pleasantly shocking and mesmerizing. She is a songstress of singers”.

– The Harbor Country News, Michigan

“The CD! I love it! I feel like it's 1952 and I'm in a bar and everything is Black & White or at least bending to the Noir end of the spectrum. You're singing. Smoke is wafting but luckily I can't smell it. The drinks are potent. And, EVERYONE in the place is quiet and hearing you only! The selections and style really evoke a sense of time and place.”

– Alice Rubio, poet

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