VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
25 APR 13 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Molly Ringwald is having a heck of a year. Along with her international (and multilingual) acting career, she's just had her first novel published. In what spare time she had left over, she put together a wonderful debut album, Except Sometimes.
The celebrated actress comes by her musical chops honestly. Her father is trad jazz pianist Bob Ringwald. Ringwald Sr. has had a long career in the Dixieland genre and at one point co-directed the famous Bob Scobie Frisco Band.
Calling jazz her "musical equivalent of comfort food," Ringwald sings with an honest, straightforward approach and a natural sense of swing. She handpicked the 10 tracks, which were arranged by her musical director, pianist Peter Smith. Smith and the rest of the band are top Los Angeles jazz players, with bassist Trevor Ware and Clayton Cameron on drums.
The set opens with "Sooner Or Later," a Rosemary Clooney tune with fun, cheeky lyrics. The jazz waltz, "I'll Take Romance," moves between regular and double-time tempos with swinging bop solos by Smith and saxophonist Allen Mezquida.
Along with the sweet love songs, Ringwald includes "Ballad Of The Sad Young Men," the biting yet poignant song-poem written by Fran Landesman to describe her fellow Beat Generation contemporaries.
But, the most interesting addition to the American Songbook standards is her take on "Don't You Forget About Me," the Simple Minds hit that was featured in John Hughes' The Breakfast Club. Smith notes that there isn't a chord from the original left in his arrangement, and the lush instrumentation transforms the song into something completely new.
The Breakfast Club starred Miss Ringwald and, along with Hughes' Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink, made her the crush object of every teenage boy in the '80s. With Except Sometimes, she's poised to enthrall a whole new generation.