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John Pizzarelli: Dear Mr. Sinatra (2006)

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John Pizzarelli: Dear Mr. Sinatra How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

There's something about John Pizzarelli that makes anything he does all right—or better than all right. The son of jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli, the 47-year-old guitarist and vocalist is that rare hybrid of a throwback to yesteryear and one who is contemporary. His music is as fresh as it is familiar.

Pizzarelli has recorded as a bandleader for RCA, Chesky, Stash and Novus, and in 1997 appeared in the Broadway musical Dream, a revue of Johnny Mercer songs. With Dear Mr. Sinatra, an homage to "Ol' Blue Eyes, Pizzarelli's album count now stands at well over twenty, an odyssey that began with I'm Hip - Please Don't Tell My Father (Stash, 1983). In addition to being a bandleader, radio personality and solo performer, Pizarrelli has been a special guest on recordings for major pop names such as James Taylor, Natalie Cole and Rickie Lee Jones, as well as leading jazz artists like Rosemary Clooney, Buddy DeFranco and, of course, Bucky Pizzarelli.

He is also one of the few jazz artists who gets national TV exposure, having made appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and Live With Regis & Kelly among others.

Recorded with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Dear Mr. Sinatra is a collection of eleven songs popularized by "Ol' Blue Eyes. In true Pizzarelli form, the album starts with a spirited rendition of "Ring-A-Ding Ding, which features the orchestra's brass section. The saxophones shine on the equally spirited "How About You?, another example among many of how well Pizzarelli swings. Drummer Jeff Hamilton gets to show off a little, too. Pianist Tamir Hendelman stretches out a little on the ballad "If I Had You.

Other notable Sinatra-inspired tracks include "I've Got You Under My Skin, "Can't We Be Friends? and the delightfully romantic "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby. Pizzarelli never disappoints, whether performing with his trio or with a large band. Regardless of how many times you've heard these songs, Pizzarelli has a way of making them fun.

Track Listing: Ring_A-Ding Ding; You Make Me Feel So Young; How About You?; If I Had You; Witchcraft; Ive Got You Under My Skin; Nice n Easy; Medley: I See Your Face Before Me / In the Wee Small Hours (Of the Morning); Cant We Be Friends?; Yes, Sir, Thats My Baby; Last Dance.

Personnel: John Pizzarelli: guitars, vocals; The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: John Clayton: conductor, bass; Jeff Clayton: alto saxophone, clarinet; Jeff Hamilton: drums; Keith Fiddmont: alto saxophone, clarinet; Rickey Woodard, Charles Owens: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Lee Callet: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Bijon Watson, Sal Cracchiolo, Gilbert Castellanos, Bobby Rodriguez, James Ford: trumpet; Ira Nepus, George Bohanon, Ryan Porter: trombone; Robbie Hioki, Maurice Spears: bass trombone; Tamir Hendelman: piano; Christoph Luty: bass; John Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar.

Record Label: Telarc Records

Style: Vocal


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