Ghostlight Records will launch a special new label imprint, Ghostlight Deluxe with the latest release from celebrated actress and singer Jessica Molaskey, Portraits of Joni, is available for pre-order. Customers that pre-order the album via Apple Music will immediately receive the single “Help Me.” The album will be released in physical and digital formats 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. For more information on the recording, please visit www.sh-k-boom.com/jessica-molaskey-portraits-of-joni.
Jessica 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 PM and 11:00 PM. 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 Jessica Molaskey, with John Pizzarelli serving as co-producer and Rob and Marcie Orley as executive producers.
Jessica Molaskey is a veteran of a dozen Broadway shows including the revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George, which was nominated for nine Tony Awards. She appeared in A Man of No Importance at Lincoln Center, Parade (directed by Hal Prince), Dream, Tommy, Crazy for You, Les Misérables, City of Angels, Chess, Cats and Oklahoma! She most recently played the role of Marie in the City Center Encores! production of The Most Happy Fella. Off Broadway credits include Songs For A New World, Dream True, Wise Guys (Stephen Sondheim, Sam Mendes), and Weird Romance (All Original Cast Recordings).
Ms. Molaskey has five critically-acclaimed solo albums and has performed in concert from Lincoln Center to Carnegie and Disney Hall to the Montreal and Monterey Jazz festivals. For the past decade she and John Pizzarelli have enjoyed a two-month, sold-out engagement at the Café Carlyle in New York, to which Stephen Holden wrote in the New York Times: “They are as good as it gets in any entertainment medium. They are caviar in a world of canned tuna. Once you’ve acquired the taste, there is no substitute.”
She has written songs for a dozen recordings, including the “Greed,” part of a commission for Audra McDonald’s Seven Deadly Sins at Carnegie Hall and “Cradle and All” with Ricky Ian Gordon for PBS American Songbook. Jessica recently played opposite Ms. McDonald, as Sister Bertha in the NBC-TV version of The Sound Of Music Live! She and her husband host the weekly radio show “Radio Deluxe,” which airs in sixty cities around the United States and in Canada.
“Our mission at Ghostlight Deluxe,” explains Jessica, “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, Jessica 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.”
Portraits of Joni debuted as part of Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series at The Allen Room.
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 are “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 Jessica. “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.”