Live Review: Molly Ryan

Hot House Magazine Anniversary Party

New York, NY

Contact: [email protected]

Web: mollyryan.com

Players: Dan Levinson, clarinet, sax; Andy Schumm, trumpet; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Rob Adkins, bass; Kevin Dorn, drums

Material: Marking their 40th anniversary, Hot House Magazine, jazz’s premier guide, hosted an evening of style and sophistication complete with live performances. The celebration, taking place in one of New York City’s elegant brownstones, re-created the mood and ambiance of a bygone era. Adding even more authenticity to the evening, were sets by several female jazz singers offering their brand and interpretation of that period. Molly Ryan, a regular on the New York City jazz circuit, effectively channeled big band singers of the 1930s, performing songs which included “Putting All My Eggs in One Basket,” “The Folks Who Live on the Hill,” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”

Musicianship: The singer was joined by a group of top-shelf musicians, their instrumental makeup pairing perfectly with Ryan’s vocals. Choosing material that is well-suited to her voice, Ryan’s style and phrasing comport with the sounds originally heard in a bygone era. Her range is dynamically even, but her ace in the hole is in the song styling itself. 

Performance: The party atmosphere filled the venue, which offered a space dedicated to the performances. There, Ryan and band had an attentive audience, while other party goers gathered to listen in an adjoining room. Since this was not a formal show, Ryan had to walk the line of being foreground and background, and she managed adeptly. The set was well balanced between up-tempo numbers and ballads.

Summary: Molly Ryan is true to her chosen genre in her song choices and the interpretations of them. One of the advantages of being in a specific niche is that the marketing path is more obvious. Not only is she a bonafide jazz singer, but she falls into a specific sub-genre that comprises the 1930s through the Big Band era. That makes it much easier for booking opportunities and connecting with your core fanbase. Ryan has certainly carved out her path with clarity and definition.