The idea of actress and author Molly Ringwald releasing a jazz album will surprise only people who don’t know about her upbringing. Her father is a jazz pianist and shaped his daughter’s tastes in music early on.
Long in the making and set for release on Tuesday, “Except Sometimes” is Ringwald’s debut album and finds her backed by a jazz combo while exploring a collection of classics old (“The Very Thought of You”) and new [“Don’t You (Forget About Me)”].
We asked Ringwald to tell us about five jazz vocalists who influenced her own singing style.
1. Bessie Smith “She was the first singer who my parents, my dad specifically, introduced me to when I was about 3 years old. I loved her so much that in second grade, when you were supposed to do reports on famous Americans, I came in as Bessie Smith and sang ‘Gimme a Pigfoot (and a Bottle of Beer)’ to the class. I think they’re still talking about it.”
2. Ella Fitzgerald “Ella kept me going for quite a while. She had such an incredible body of work, and I liked that I was able to sing in her range.”
3. Blossom Dearie “Once I got a little bit older and interested in people who didn’t have a perfect voice but were able to convey emotion, I got really into Blossom. Everything she sings is all within the same range, but it’s what she does with her voice.”
4. Anita O’Day “I liked that scene in [the film] ‘Jazz on a Summer’s Day,’ where she’s doing ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and probably high as a kite. She was a virtuoso, and she’s one of these interesting singers who I liked better later than earlier.”
5. Susannah McCorkle
“She had a big influence on me, for similar reasons to Blossom. She didn’t have a huge range but a really beautiful quality of voice and made you hear the lyrics. You really felt she was saying something.”
Concord Records will release “Except Sometimes” on Tuesday, and Ringwald expects to perform in Boston in the fall.