Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola: Moonglow (2005)
At least as evidenced by this collection of guitar duets, nothing but a mere few decades would seem to separate Bucky Pizzarelli (b. 1925) and Frank Vignola (b. 1965). Pizzarelli's lengthy resume includes years as a studio musician beginning in the '50s, touring with Benny Goodman, a celebrated guitar partnership with George Barnes, and popular stops along the way with Bobby Hackett and Bob Wilber, among others. Vignola, playing a six-string archtop guitar (and sometimes banjo), has always been a strong melody man on recordings which have ranged from "Stars Fell on Alabama to Horace Silver's "Cookin' at the Continental to tunes by Sting, Cream, and Bob Marley, in company with Ken Peplowski, Randy Sandke, and Roland Hanna, among others.
The sixteen great pop standards on which they collaborate here turn into a celebration of the joys of simplicity. These are two virtuosos, masters with neither a need to outdo each other nor to hide behind flashy pyrotechnics. Vignola's clarity dominates on the melodies while Pizzarelli, on a seven-string electric, provides the most faithful partnering. The closeness of their chemistry is immediately evident on the opening tune, "Whispering. Vignola plucks a few notes while Pizzarelli, all subtle mellow warmth, joins in almost imperceptibly.
They next glide into "I Can Dream, Can't I? , capturing a yearning which if anything is more than matched later by the incredible tenderness they express on "P.S. I Love You. Mood and tempo are shifted effortlessly for the sensual bolero beats of "Temptation, as throbbing colors from Vignola ride on an undulating wave of current from Pizzarelli. On the great Glenn Miller hit "Moonlight Serenade, Pizzarelli's mellow chords with Vignola's lyrical eloquence perfectly capture the dreamy romanticism of the Swing Era classic.
Recollections of moments as sublime as Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours and Ella's "Like Someone In Love come to mind. As with those masterpieces, each tune seems woven into a seamless, totally satisfying whole. Moonglow is melodious bliss.
Track Listing: Whispering; I Can Dream, Can't I; Temptation; Moonlight Serenade; My Ideal; Moonglow; In The Blue of Evening; Sleepy Time Down South; If I Had You; Golden Earrings; Dream A Little Dream of Me; P.S. I Love You; Serenade In Blue; I'm Confessin'; Deep Purple; You'll Never Know.
Personnel: Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar; Frank Vignola: guitar.