Molly Flannery, Photo by Bob Stegmaier
Molly Flannery's distinctive touch on the piano, her melodic improvisations, her ability to groove in jazz, latin, and Brazilian idioms, as well as arrange, compose, and lead ensembles have made her a major player on the highly competitive Boston jazz scene. She hails from Libertyville, IL where she started studying piano at age six, and listening to bossa nova, thanks to her father's enthusiasm for the craze when it first broke out in the states. Her dad would come home from work and turn on "Desifinado" and the daughters would follow him around the living room doing their version of samba.
At the age of 11 she biked through her neighborhood putting flyers in mailboxes advertising 50-cent piano lessons, and she’s been teaching piano ever since!
After studying composition, improvisation and theory at Yale, Molly began her performing career in Kyoto, Japan in 1981 where she appeared frequently at local clubs, playing rock and jazz. In 1983 she left Japan and eventually settled in Boston where she studied jazz with Ran Blake, Charlie Banacos, Kenny Werner, Harvey Diamond and Doug Johnson.
Soon after, she became the keyboard player for Cosmos Factor, the popular world beat dance band led by Jacques Pardo that appeared regularly at Ryles and on WERS Radio's Gyroscope. The group was nominated for Best World Beat Band at the Boston Music Awards during that time. Then she moved on and formed the Molly Flannery Quintet featuring Tom Zicarelli on sax, Steve Elliott on trombone, and Michael Zank on drums. They played such popular Boston jazz venues as The Willow, The Western Front, The 1359 Club, and Ryles. The Quintet's music began popping up quite often on jazz radio programs such as WGBH's Eric in the Evening, where they did a live show, and Harvard Radio's Jazz Spectrum.
When her first CD, Slow Dance at the Asylum, was released in 1999, it received wide air play and high praise from jazz critics, musicians and listeners. (See reviews section of website.)
Her second album, Riding the Bull, released in October of 2004, finds her exercising her skills as a composer, arranger and leader, and bringing together a talented team of players including John Funkhouser, bass; Anna Callahan and April Hall, voice; Gary Fieldman, drums. Her interest in a variety of traditions, from classical to Brazilian, and her continuing integration of these strands into her playing make this album distinctive. It’s available from Molly directly or at CDBaby.
For many years her home base was the Acton Jazz Cafe, where she ran the jazz jam session the second Sunday of each month and played in a quartet every Thursday evening with AJC owner/vocalist Gwenn Vivian. She continues to refine and strengthen her talents, playing in Boston and suburban venues such as the Bull Run Restaurant, Colonial Inn, Nick’s Bar and Restaurant, Les Zygomates and Pho Dakao.