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It’s a Pizzarelli seven-string guitar invasion over the next couple of weeks, as Dad Bucky and son John make separate visits to the St. Louis region from May 10 through the 18th. The elder Pizzarelli will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree at Southern Illinois University on Saturday, May 1oth at Spring commencement. Bucky Pizzarelli has many fans among the SIUE jazz faculty because of his frequent workshops on behalf of the jazz studies program.
John Pizzarelli, who has developed a strong St. Louis following over the past several years with his crowd-pleasing personality, high-octane guitar chops and winning vocals, hits The Sheldon Concert Hall with his Trio for two shows on the weekend of May 17th and 18th. Of course it doesn’t hurt the appeal of the Pizzarelli Trio that native St. Louisan Ray Kennedy has held down the piano chair in the Trio since it was founded a decade ago.
In addition to setting a precedent by playing two consecutive shows at the acoustically excellent 700-seat Sheldon, Pizzarelli is also doing his part to support musical education while he’s in town. As a member of the Advisory Board for the Music For Life Alliance – a non-profit group dedicated to encouraging the donation of used musical instruments, then passing them along to needy school and community music programs – John has also agreed to host a find-raising reception for the organization after his 3 p.m. concert on May 18th. The event also touches on another Pizzarelli passion – gourmet Italian cooking. John has helped put together the menu for what’s being called the “Pizzarelli Pasta Party.”
The reception, which kicks off at 5:30 in the Sheldon’s ballroom, will feature a gourmet menu of antipasto, salad, three different pasta dishes and desserts created by local restaurants Brazies, Gian-Tony’s, Mama Mia’s, Zia’s and John Viviano & Sons Catering, Inc. Admission is $25, with all proceeds going to the Music for Life Alliance. Tickets are available through MetroTix or the Sheldon for the John Pizzarelli Trio concerts and the “Pasta Party.”
The 2002-2003 Jazz at the Bistro season concludes with visits by pianist Hilton Ruiz May 14th - 17th, and vocalist Freddie Cole May 28th - 31st. The Bistro will also be throwing an open house on May 23 to announce it’s 2003-2004 season lineup. You’ll also be able to catch a band led by assistant manager Bob Bennett on sax.