piano and Martin Pizzarelli, bass) with a big band arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky to produce a vibrant, exciting, and totally enjoyable program. The program is a mixture of big band classics, some lesser-know tunes from great writers, and a couple Pizzarelli originals.
Where do I start? So much about this CD just simply blows me away! Pizzarelli's light tenor voice is certainly up to the challenges of these tunes; he navigates the changes and tempos with aplomb. His guitar solo on the fast-paced "Avalon" is worth the price of the disc by itself; he has chops to spare, but displays excellent taste with his choices of notes and phrases. Pizzarelli melds his voice and guitar on "Little Girl," then solos jointly with pianist Kennedy in an amazing display of ears-wide-open sympathetic interplay. And then there's the arrangements! Don Sebesky has established himself as one of the most skillful arrangers in jazz for the past four decades, from his days with Maynard Ferguson in the late fifties through his creative CTI albums in the early seventies, to the present. His work is not heard often enough.
It's not often that I lavish such unqualified superlative praise on a CD, but this is one such case. This CD is highly recommended!