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Jessica Molaskey Performs Songs from Her 'Portraits of Joni' Album at Birdland Jazz Club

Wednesday Aug 2, 2017

Singer Jessica Molaskey will perform hits from her new album, "Portraits of Joni" at New York City's famed Birdland Jazz Club August 8-12, appearing alongside John Pizzarelli. It's part of her new album by Ghostlight Records, featuring songs from singer Joni Mitchell, released on Friday, July 28.

Featuring Molaskey's distinctly innovative interpretations, this album mixes elements of jazz, pop, folk, and Americana into a uniquely powerful and poignant celebration of the iconic songwriter, Joni Mitchell. Album guest stars include Jazz luminaries Larry Goldings, Randy Brecker, Harry Allen and John Pizzarelli.

Molaskey will be performing selections from the album in concert New York at Birdland Jazz Club (315 West 44th Street in New York) from August 8-12, appearing alongside John Pizzarelli, with nightly shows at 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Other tour dates include Seattle (July 27-30), Los Angeles (August 17-20), Santa Cruz (August 26) and Escondido, CA (August 27). "Portraits of Joni" is produced by Molaskey, with Pizzarelli serving as co-producer and Rob and Marcie Orley as executive producers.

"Our mission at Ghostlight Deluxe," explains Molaskey, "is to give theater artists an opportunity and a home to make solo recordings that are singular to their unique talents. Whether it be jazz, pop or the Great American Songbook, we are committed to making albums with the highest quality arrangements and musicianship that integrate all these styles. It is the challenge of Broadway actors to be chameleons, to step into a character and become someone other than themselves. What happens when a Broadway singer decides to step out of costume? What happens when they decide to expose their authentic self through song? Ghostlight Deluxe will produce recordings that don't necessarily feel the need to reach to the back of the balcony, but can effortlessly reach our hearts."

Kurt Deutsch, Ghostlight's founder and president, adds "John and Jessica have been my friends for 20 years. Their technical artistry, stylish interpretations and pure love of music are unparalleled. To collaborate with them on Ghostlight Deluxe is an honor for me and will be a joy for all to hear."

Reflecting on "Portraits of Joni," Molaskey says, "Joni Mitchell writes songs like a painter. One brush stroke here, another stroke there and you have a portrait of a fully realized soul. I continue to be amazed by how she can create a whole person with her words and music."


Album highlights include contemplative takes on many of Mitchell's most popular composition such as "A Case of You," "Chelsea Morning" and the iconic "Both Sides Now," in addition to sly, jazz-laced versions of "Dry Cleaner from Des Moines" and "Raised on Robbery."

When "Portraits of Joni" debuted as part of Lincoln Center's "American Songbook" series at The Allen Room, Molaskey was praised by Stephen Holden in the New York Times for her "uncompromising psychological realism along with an element of surprise that few singers bring to their material. In her voice, joy and pain are so intertwined that they're almost the same thing."

Will Friedwald of The Wall Street Journal raved "Joni Mitchell would have to look hard to find a better interpreter and champion than Jessica Molaskey, a highly astute singer and interpreter who's proven her worth repeatedly in the fields of Broadway, cabaret, and jazz."

In the Village Voice, David Finkle said, "If Joni Mitchell isn't singing her own songs, it's hard to imagine anyone singing them better than Molaskey, a singer whose smoky voice carries the intellect and emotion necessary to capture Mitchell's often chilly immediacy."

Her husband John Pizzarelli, who will release his own album "Sinatra & Jobim @ 50" the same day, is featured in a special combination of Mitchell's eternal "The Circle Game" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's 'Waters of March." According to the New York Times, the songs "transformed a merry-go-round contemplation of the life cycle into an exalted hymn to the natural world." The classic "Little Green" is a vocal duet with their daughter Madeleine Pizzarelli. "All I Want " is presented as a tour-de-force piano solo by Larry Goldings, merged with Jessica's haunting vocal on "Blue."

"Joni's self-portraits are beautiful and fragile and often filled with conflict and joy," continues Molaskey. "Like the young Joni in 'In France They Kiss on Main Street,' she experienced her coming of age 'under neon signs' in a pinball arcade, while her mother was 'fading in a suburban room' or the overwhelmed Joni in 'A Case of You,' wallowing at the bar and drawing his face "on the back of a cartoon coaster in the blue TV screen light. These portraits are now timeless treasures of a new generations' Great American Songbook. They have been indelibly etched in my heart and soul forever."


Molaskey will sing from "Portraits of Joni" at 8:30 and 11 p.m. from August 8-12 at Birdland Jazz Club, 315 W. 44th Street in New York City.

For tickets to the show, visit www.birdlandjazz.com

For more information on the recording, please visit www.sh-k-boom.com/jessica-molaskey-portraits-of-joni.

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