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Another Day

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Album Review

Jazz singer Molly Johnson has done time in both pop and art rock bands and has served as an opening act for such blues and R&B superstars as Ray Charles and B.B. King, so the stylistic range in evidence on her first album for Narada Jazz doesn't come as much of a surprise. She jumps from bracing and jazz-inflected pop/rock (the radio remix of "Another Day") to a piano-based reggae/R&B hybrid ("Ooh Child/Redemption Song") without missing a beat, and slinks her way through torchy blues numbers with equal facility. On the downside, "Celie's Blues" sounds just as anachronistic and politically forced in this version as it did popping up out of nowhere in the middle of The Color Purple, and the fact that Johnson's delivery comes across as little more than a Billie Holiday impression just makes things worse. On the other hand, her version of "Summertime," which was an inevitable song choice given her vocal style, is given new life by the minimalist arrangement of voice, bass, and percussion, and "Red Cardinal" has a fun, jumpy Tin Pan Alley feel. Overall, this album can be confidently recommended to adventurous lovers of vocal jazz.

Customer Reviews

Fits like a glove

Molly Johnson is a prolific performer and vocalist that, with this outing, is finally fitted with an ensemble and song selection that she wears better than anyone could. Her vocal style is relaxed, casual, but enchanting. Many compare her to Billy Holiday but she doesn't overplay that in the style choices she makes. (I recently discovered Esther Phillips, who is more similar to Johnson). This album has a perfect mix of slow and upbeat tunes that showcase Johnson's unique style. The percussion on Summertime was recorded with a cardboard box. It works and is telling of what this woman can do with the raw material around her. In the melee of female jazz vocalists trying to find a marketing niche, Johnson has quietly found her musical niche and made it inimitable.

Biography

Born: Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

b. Canada. The Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based Johnson is one of the most promising jazz vocalists to emerge in the new millennium. Her career began at a young age, and led to performances across North America, as well as formal training at both the National Ballet School of Canada and the Banff School of Fine Arts. Johnson then landed in an obscure 80s art-rock outfit, Alta Moda, before joining another group, Infidels, during the early 90s. It was also during this time that Johnson began supplying...
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Another Day, Molly Johnson
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