Concert Review: Molly Ringwald

Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, May 10

The Rat Pack met the Brat Pack as ’80s film star and Concord Jazz recording artist Molly Ringwald took her audience to some less-visited selections from the Great American Songbook. It was apparent right off the bat that the still-smoking-hot 45-year-old knew how to deliver the evening’s fare. She got to the bottom of a lyric’s meaning and context.

Although she has a perfectly suited voice for the genre, it was her body language and engagement with the audience that lifted each vocal delivery to a higher level. Besides the eclectic song selection, Ringwald didn’t shy away from vocally challenging numbers such as Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain” and Leigh & Coleman’s “You Fascinate Me So.”

Led by musical director Peter Smith on piano, her band featured a strong selection of L.A. jazz veterans. Saxophonist Allen Mezquida’s performance was reminiscent of the “soft reed” style of Stan Getz. Bassist Trevor Ware employed a bow and some vocal accompaniment to his own soloing. And drummer Clayton Cameron didn’t miss a beat. The performance made the venue feel incredibly intimate, and I could think of no better way to enjoy some of the rarer gems of American jazz. ★★★★☆