All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews


Molly Johnson Offers Winnipeggers an Eclectic Mix of Music


Sign in to view read count
Molly Johnson
2006 Jazz Winnipeg Festival
McPhillips Street Station
June 25, 2006

Looking very elegant in a shimmering knee-length skirt, matching high heels, and white tank top, vocalist Molly Johnson delighted a sold-out crowd on the final day of the 2006 Jazz Winnipeg Festival.

Johnson may not be a familiar name to American jazz fans, but she is well-known in her native country and is quite popular in France.

She began with "But Not For Me , a tune she recorded for her latest album with trumpet and flugelhorn legend, Guido Basso. A latin-tinged ending included some "commentary from saxophonist Colleen Allen.

The vocalist then showed her Billie Holiday side with a rendition of "If You Know Love .

Throughout the evening Johnson engaged in good-natured banter with the crowd. When introducing one tune ("Let's Waste Some Time ) she said, in self-deprecatory fashion, "I got to do this lyric thing and I'm a bit of an air head. I need teleprompters.

The aforementioned song had a bossanova flavor to it, while the tenor solo was reminiscent of Stan Getz and his very sublime sense of phrasing.

Drummer Mark McLean arranged Prince's "Tangerine , which included a strong soprano solo by Allen. McLean's crisp playing reminded one of the fire and soul of the late Billy Higgins. The reedist, meanwhile, displayed solid intonation on a notoriously difficult instrument to play. Allen and pianist Andrew Craig also contributed backup vocals.

"Diamond in My Hand , was described by Johnson as "my country tune , and featured some vocal interplay with Craig.

The sextet's performance was tight, especially in the ensemble playing; the affinity and sympathy they had for each other was most evident.

Following a standing ovation, Johnson returned for an encore ("Summertime ) with only bass and drums in support. Bassist Mike Downes, who is from Winnipeg, was given an opportunity to display his considerable chops.

The rest of the group returned and the evening closed with a blues that the pianist composed while "riding in the van in France , according to Johnson. Everyone had a chance to "blow , including guitarist Rob Piltch and Allen again, this time on clarinet, whose solo evoked some spontaneous applause from the packed house.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre Live Reviews
Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre
by Eric Thiessen
Published: March 18, 2018
Read The Dixie Dregs at Scottish Rite Auditorium Live Reviews
The Dixie Dregs at Scottish Rite Auditorium
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Bruselas Flamenco Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Bruselas Flamenco Festival 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42 Live Reviews
Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince, 2018 Live Reviews
Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince, 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 16, 2018
Read Derek Bailey // Three Presences at Cafe Oto Live Reviews
Derek Bailey // Three Presences at Cafe Oto
by John Eyles
Published: March 8, 2018
Read "Green Man 2017" Live Reviews Green Man 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 11, 2017
Read "Punkt Festival 2017" Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Suoni Per Il Popolo 2017" Live Reviews Suoni Per Il Popolo 2017
by Mike Chamberlain
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "French Connections - The Jazzdor Experience" Live Reviews French Connections - The Jazzdor Experience
by Henning Bolte
Published: January 25, 2018