Hilary Gardner grew up in Wasilla, Alaska infatuated with New York City. The city came to life through the jazz and American songbook albums in her parents’ record collection. Hilary made her Broadway debut in 2010. Her stunning recording debut, The Great City, is part love letter, part lament to New York and the big dreams it represents.
Hilary went from waiting tables to making her Broadway debut in two-time Tony-award winner Twyla Tharp’s hit musical, Come Fly Away. Backed by a 19-piece big band, Hilary sang solos and duets with Frank Sinatra in a performance hailed by critics as “wonderful” (Huffington Post), “elegant” (USA Today), and “terrific” (New York Observer). Tharp, herself, said: "Hilary Gardner, like the great 'girl singers' of decades past, brings elegance and wit to every song she sings. She lends a touch of vintage cool to new material and makes the old songs sound fresh again."
She is a frequent soloist with symphonies throughout the United States and has appeared with Connecticut’s Ridgefield Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and New York’s Rochester Philharmonic. She performs regularly as a featured vocalist with the George Gee Swing Orchestra, and she’s a founding member of Shotgun Wedding, a Brooklyn-based country music band. Multi-platinum recording artist Moby featured Hilary prominently on his well-received 2009 release, Wait For Me (Mute Records/EMI).
The Great City is a classic vocal pop album, graceful and intimate with nuanced band interplay enriched by lyrical instrumental solos. It’s sophisticatedly accessible, recalling swinging albums by Peggy Lee, Doris Day, and Ella Fitzgerald. The album’s program of songs is refreshingly broad, featuring songs both urban and urbane by composers like Leonard Cohen, Vernon Duke, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and Nellie McKay, among others. “I wanted to acknowledge the breadth of musical influences in my life while still making a cohesive musical statement,” Hilary says.
The album was tracked at Systems Two in Brooklyn, produced by Eli Wolf, and features sublime musical accompaniment by friends and NYC jazz mainstays Ehud Asherie, piano; Randy Napoleon, guitar; Elias Bailey, bass; Jerome Jennings, drums; Jason Marshall, saxophone; Tatum Greenblatt, trumpet, and Jon Cowherd, organ.