John Pizzarelli: Knowing You (2005)

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How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

John Pizzarelli: Knowing You
I've always been the ultimate non-fan of the ever-growing Sinatra-esque, finger-popping, wink-a-dinging, Vegashtick franchise. That's one reason it took me so long to get to this release, and I'm glad I finally did, because it was such a surprise how much I liked it.



Although Pizzarelli's voice still sounds pinched, and can't always go where his guitar does when they scat together, he's a straightforward and touching singer who swings like crazy; his version of a warhorse like "The Shadow of Your Smile is blessedly understated and tender. The fresh and intriguing material includes two delights from Frishberg, a bouquet of Pizzarelli originals, and some lesser-knowns from standard-bearer Sammy Cahn, like "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?



Also impressive are all the superb sidemen who are usually leaders: Larry Goldings, Harry Allen, Ken Peplowski, dad Bucky, and the Brazilian keyboard legend Cesar Camargo Mariano. Knowing You is the anti-schmaltz of this genre: charming, witty, and altogether likable, it has wonderfully buoyant energy and top-drawer musicianship. Who knew?

Record Label: Telarc Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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