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John Pizzarelli Trio: Live at Birdland

C. Michael Bailey By

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Live at Birdland is two hours, twelve minutes, and sixteen seconds the finest of the American Musical Art form. The John Pizzarelli Trio celebrated its tenth anniversary at New York City's Birdland club this past year and Telarc was there to capture the festivities. How fortunate we are.



Forty-three-year-old John Pizzarelli is jazz royalty. His father, Bucky Pizzarelli, pioneered the guitar style his son was later to perfect. Pizarrelli’s sweet tenor and deft guitar playing drive him to the forefront of mainstream jazz performance. John Pizzarelli was taught guitar by his father and sat in with him and Zoot Sims at an early 1980s show. The Greater and Lesser Pizzarelli have recorded several fine albums together since.



Often compared to the Nat King Cole Trio, The John Pizzarelli Trio is comparable only in the guitar/piano/bass format. In spite of his great reverence for Cole, Pizzarelli has proven to be his own man. A light, whimsical singer with a keen sense of humor, Pizzarelli is an immediate crowd charmer. He peppers this two-disc set with stories about bandmates, family, and other singers. He opens the second disc with a vamp on the Rolling Stone’s "Jumpin’ Jack Flash" before launching into a summertime "Three Little Word" that will make the listener understand what Sonny Rollins was thinking about when he included this song in his book.



The trio consists of pianist Ray Kennedy and bassist brother Martin Pizzarelli. The trio is joined by vocalist Grover Kemble on the Pizzarelli original "Headed Out for Vera’s" and & quot;My Castle’s rockin’." The trio runs down a super set of swing standards, all which are wholly satisfied. One of the value elements of this disc is the sheer musicality of Pizzarelli’s guitar playing and singing. Both make listening to instrumental artist’s take on these chestnuts make sense once the listener has heard the lyrics sung by such a top-rate singer.



See Telarc Jazz and John Pizzarelli .


Track Listing: Disc 1: Introduction; Just You, Just Me; The Frim Fram Sauce; The Song is You; Isn't It a Pity?; Rhode Island; Gospel Truth; Tea for Tatum; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; Mean Old Man; Manhattan; Moonlight Becomes You; Will You Still Be Mine.
Disc 2: Introduction; Three Little Words; They Can't Take That Away From Me; Oh, How My Heart Beats for You; The Day I Found You; It's Only A Paper Moon; Stompin' At The Savoy; Better Run Before It's Spring; Headed Out For Vera's; Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You/Baby Baby All The Time/ Midnight Blue; I Like Jersey Best; My Castle's Rockin'; Baby Just Come Home to Me.

Personnel: John Pizzarelli-Guitar, Vocals; Ray Kennedy-Piano; Martin Pizzarelli-Bass.

Title: Live at Birdland | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Telarc Records

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