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When recording fresh interpretations of classic songs, artists do best when they go beyond simply singing or playing them the way they were written. To make it worth doing, the modern artist must make the music his own. John Pizzarelli is exceptionally adept in accomplishing this. This fact is evident on the opening track of his new album, Knowing You. Including a dazzling guitar solo/vocal scat, and quoting the percolating jingle from an old Maxwell House commercial, Pizzarelli claims full ownership of Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire's "Coffee, Black.
That sets the stage for a swinging good time as Pizzarelli and his variable quartet pay tribute to the many talented musicians and songwriters he has met over the course of his 25-years of interpreting the Great American Songboook. Most of the 15 works on the album spotlight the work of composers and lyricists whose families Pizzarelli has come to know and admire. Among them are Alan Bergman, Dave Frishberg, Dan Barrett and Johnny Mandel.
With Tony Tedesco on drums and brother Martin Pizzarelli on bass throughout the album, John Pizzarelli is accompanied by a variable lineup of pianists, wind instruments and additional guitarists. Harry Allen provides tenor sax play on the short but delightful "Ain't That a Kick in the Head? also featuring organist Larry Goldings. Ray Kennedy adds piano on the equally delightful "Pick Yourself Up. The leisurely title song, penned by Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, again features Goldings on organ and Kennedy on piano. Molaskey joins Pizzarelli in a charming duet on Frishburg's "Quality Time. Other notable tracks include Tony Asher and Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows, Ira and George Gerswhin's "How Long Has This Been Going On? and the Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin composition, "If It's the Last Thing I Do.
On Knowing You, his sixth album on Telarc and his 19th as a bandleader, Pizzarelli offers plenty to enjoy. He and his bandmates cover a lot of territory and capture many moods all in the name of putting a smile on the listener's face.
Track Listing: Coffee, Black; New Sun in the Sky; Aint That a Kick in the Head?; The Shadow of Your Smile; Pick Yourself Up; Knowing You; God Only Knows; Quality Time; Eastwood Lane; I Just Found Out About Love; Say It (Over and Over Again); That Face; How Long Has This Been Going On?; The First Hint of Autumn; If Its the Last Thing I Do
Personnel: John Pizzarelli, guitars and vocals; Ray Kennedy, piano; Martin Pizzarelli, bass; Harry Allen, tenor saxophone; Larry Goldings, piano and organ; Cesar Camargo Mariano, piano; Jessica Molaskey, vocal; Tony Monte, piano; Ken Peplowski, clarinet; Bucky Pizzarelli, acoustic rhythm guitar; Tony Tedesco, drums
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.