Molly Ryan • Sweepin’ The Blues Away

I have often thought of Molly Ryan as a jazz singer who has some similarities to Helen Ward (best known for singing with Benny Goodman during 1934-36) in that she brings happiness and a solid sense of swing to each song that she interprets. She pays respect to the words and the melody of the vintage tunes that she performs while improvising with subtlety through her phrasing. In the 20 years since she started singing in New York, Ms. Ryan has grown in depth and understated emotional intensity while retaining her attractive voice. Her recent Sweepin’ The Blues Away CD has a few numbers (particularly “The Folks Who Live On The Hill,” “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,” and “A Cottage or Sale”) on which her vocals are quite touching, wistful, and a little mournful. I could not imagine her recording such satisfying and quietly emotional renditions of those songs when she first started out. It is gratifying to note her steady growth, and it is easy to enjoy where she is today as a singer. Sweepin’ The Blues Away has 11 songs that trace the beginning, prime, decline, and aftermath of a relationship. The singer is joined by her husband Dan Levinson on tenor and clarinet, pianist Rossano Sportiello, bassist Rob Adkins, and drummer Kevin Dorn. There are short solos throughout the date but the main credit for its success lies with the singer. The program begins with the
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Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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