Bucky Pizzarelli: Favorite Solos... Featuring Frank Vignola

Ken Dryden BY

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Bucky Pizzarelli
Favorite Solos... Featuring Frank Vignola
Mel Bay

Bucky Pizzarelli, a first call guitarist for decades, meets the young, versatile guitarist Frank Vignola on this studio session made for DVD. The veteran 7-string player, who previously recorded a duo session with Vignola for Hyena (Moonglow), has developed a distinctive sound that is quickly identifiable. Although a generation younger, Vignola, who is introduced by Pizzarelli as the "American version of Django," lives up to the flattering comparison on the present date.

The senior player has chosen favorites composed during the '30s and '40s, songs both men could probably play in their sleep. The ease with which they alternate between soloing and accompanying makes it seem like they've been working together for years. Pizzarelli is a master of melody and a superb soloist, while Vignola's solos are just a bit more flamboyant, though never overshadowing his partner's thoughtful melodic statements.

The obvious favorites include the foot-tappers "Stompin at the Savoy and "Honeysuckle Rose (which begins as a lighthearted swinger before turning into an up-tempo cooker). Pizzarelli has two solo features, including "Stars in Your Eyes (with Vignola joining him as he segues into "Nuages ) and the bittersweet ballad "This Nearly Was Mine."

The sound is intimate and flawless, while the twin camera setup shifts focus every few seconds and makes judicious use of cross-fades, providing numerous closeups on both fretboards. As a result, guitarists, especially, will enjoy the opportunity to examine each player's technique, though this hour-long DVD will also hold the attention of general jazz fans.

Tracks: In a Mellow Tone; Limehouse Blues; Smoke Rings; Tangerine; Stars in Your Eyes/Nuages; Pacifica; If I Had You; Please; Stompin' at the Savoy; This Nearly Was Mine; It's Been a Long, Long Time/Don't Take Your Love from Me; Honeysuckle Rose; Three Little Words; Moonlight Serenade.

Personnel: Bucky Pizzarelli: 7-string electric guitar; Frank Vignola: 6-string electric guitar.

Production Notes: 60 minutes. Recorded April 4, 2005 at Nola Recording Studios, New York City, New York.

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