When jazz families are discussed, the discussion usually stops after the Marsalises, Joneses and Heaths. But of course, you've got the Eubankses, the Coltranes, the Monks. And the Pizzarellis: Bucky, John and Martin.
Two-thirds of the performing Pizzarellis are represented on "Kisses In The Rain," but it seems that the influences emanate most strongly from Nat Cole, as acknowledged on John Pizzarelli's earlier album, "Dear Mr. Cole."
Using the basic Nat Cole instrumentation, and most importantly the Nat Cole spirit, Pizzarelli chooses to explore the extroverted and joyous side of Cole's personality, while Diana Krall takes the route of introversion, sultriness and subtlety.
The John Pizzarelli trio, so in tune with each others' thoughts that they play as one, performs romantic swing tunes of previous generations or of their own composition. But their spirited and witty approach makes them eminently likeable, no matter what.
More than that, their technique adds life to the songs or comments upon the lyrics without showiness-a bending of a note here, an unexpected double time meter there, a sprinkling of upper treble clef piano notes here to suggest rain, an automatic exchange of comping between piano and guitar there.
A champion of the American song, like perhaps Bobby Short or Michael Feinstein or of course Nat Cole, Pizzarelli fuses his own quirkiness to compound meaning, as on "When I Take My Sugar To Tea."
You have to give John Pizzarelli credit: He knows what he likes, and he likes what he does. With an identity as strongly established as his, he can abandon the search for self that other musicians share with listeners and direct his energy toward searching for meaning and spirit of other people's music.