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Rick Haydon & John Pizzarelli: Just Friends (2006)

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Rick Haydon & John Pizzarelli: Just Friends How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Guitarist Rick Haydon, a veteran jazz educator, is not widely known to most jazz fans. On the other hand, John Pizzarelli has established himself by leading his own trio (and appearing in many Foxwoods Casino ads). Following a concert together in 2004, Haydon achieved his goal of recording a tribute to greats of the instrument with Pizzarelli, one of the masters of his generation. With bassist Martin Pizzarelli and drummer Tony Tedesco accompanying them, the two men pick a far-reaching program that delves into swing and bop, alternating between lead and rhythm lines so effectively that it's hard to tell who is who.

Their breezy interpretation of "Perdido swings like mad. They have a lot of fun with a trio of Al Cohn compositions—the playful "Chasin' the Blues, the slinky "Two Funky People, and the brisk swinging blues "Halley's Comet. Haydon and Pizzarelli also delve into bossa nova with an upbeat arrangement of "Tony's Tune, composed by the late, long-time Tonight Show guitarist Tony Mottola.

Pizzarelli's individual showcase is a lyrical treatment of the infrequently performed "Sometime Ago, while Haydon's rendition of the warhorse "Old Folks is both nostalgic and wistful. It only makes sense that Haydon and Pizzarelli chose a brisk rendition of "Just Friends to close their initial recording date together, as it is obvious that they had a ball making this disc.


Track Listing: Chasin' the Blues; Two Funky; Sometime Ago; Halley's Comet; Look for the Silver Lining; Samba de Orfeu; It's a Wonderful World; Old Folks; Perdido; Tony's Tune; Just Friends.

Personnel: Rick Haydon: 7-string electric guitar; John Pizzarelli: 7-string electric guitar; Martin Pizzarelli: bass; Tony Tedesco: drums.

Record Label: Mel Bay Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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