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In his notes for this celebration of jazz and mostly fellow family musicians, John Pizzarelli observes, "Everyone in this group has had a moment where they knew what they wanted to do and how and what they wanted to play." High spirits are evident throughout this romp, mostly recorded in a take or two, without charts for the standards, lending an infectious air of spontaneity to the proceedings. In that style, Pizzarelli and wife Jessica Molaskey open the proceedings winningly with their own tune, "We Take On The Town." On the same song Pizzarelli and his iconic dad Bucky take off together with a dazzling guitar duet.
There's a distinct change of pace with a wistful, heart-tugging version of "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" by Molaskey. Hers is a tender flower on the fire escape singing that Depression Era gem, ably abetted by Aaron Weinstein's violin. A similar warm spirit continues with the classic "Sweet and Lovely" and those qualities are exactly what radiate from Weinstein, Bucky's acoustic rhythm guitar, John's electric and Larry Fuller on piano.
A wry and nearly forgotten Harold Arlen-Ira Gershwin gem, "I Knew Him When," is rediscovered through a vocal duet between Molaskey and Rebecca Kilgore. Drummer Tony Tedesco's brushes and Fuller's keyboard provide perfect accompaniment to the gals' easy sounds. Whatever they play, it's about getting together to make a joyful noise.
Track Listing: We Take On the Town; Strollin' Over to Nola (Gonna Play Some Blues); Oh, Lady Be Good!; Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; Sweet and Lovely; Joe and Zoot!; I'm Making Believe; You Be The Judge; Somebody Call Hanly!; Under a Blanket of Blue; Check Out This Out; I Knew Him When; I'll See You in My Dreams.
Personnel: Larry Fuller: piano; Martin Pizzarelli: bass; Bucky Pizzarelli: acoustic rhythm guitar; Tony Tedesco: drums; Aaron Weinstein: violin; Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Rebecca Kilgore: vocals; Jessica Molaskey: vocals; John Pizzarelli: electric guitar, vocals.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.