All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

356

John Pizzarelli: Rockin' in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington

C. Michael Bailey By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
John Pizzarelli: Rockin' in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington John Pizzarelli is a walking, talking embarrassment of riches. He has a great pedigree, as his father, Bucky Pizzarelli), was a prodigious guitar talent (on a seven-string guitar, no less) with a voice like Chet Baker should have had. It is all this charm that Pizzarelli freely shares with us lesser mortals. Rockin' in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington is a thematic collection picking up where his 2006 collection, Dear Mr. Sinatra (Telarc), left off. What more can be done with Duke Ellington that has not been done before? Well, quite a lot it turns out.

What sets Pizzarelli's Ellington apart from the rest (that is, in addition to his infectious, happy singing) are the arrangements. An artistic discipline unto itself, jazz arrangement often provides the crux upon which a song's success or failure rests. Rockin' in Rhythm sports two of the finest in the business, with the date leader working on the quartet pieces and Don Sebesky arranging the Swing Seven Horns on seven of the 12 compositions held within.

Sebesky's genius is exercised in spades on the opening of the disc. "In a Mellow Tone" features tart horn backing to Pizzarelli's uncommonly sweet vocals. Pizzarelli provides an equally tart guitar solo doubled expertly with the guitarist's voice. "East St. Louis Toodle-Do" is overlaid with a sung "I Don't Get Around Much Anymore," with the two tunes attached firmly at the bridge. The effect is startling. Gerald Wilson's arrangement of "Perdido" is given lyrics by Pizzarelli's wife, Jessica Molaskey, who shares vocal duties with Kurt Elling.

Other guests include tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and violinist Aaron Weinstein playing Ben Webster and Ray Nance on "C Jam Blues." Pizzarelli takes Ellington for a solo guitar spin on "Just Squeeze Me," giving his father a loving nod in the bargain. Speaking of Bucky, he provides the solo for "Satin Doll." Mainstream jazz is a demanding mistress and Pizzarelli manages her with grace and wit. This recording is an accomplishment of the most rarefied order.


Track Listing: In a Mellow Tone; East St. Louis Toodle-oo/ Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Satin Doll; C Jam Blues; In My Solitude; Just Squeeze Me; Perdido; All Too Soon; I'm Beginning to See the Light; Love Scene; I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good; Cottontail/ Rockin' in Rhythm.

Personnel: John Pizzarelli: vocals, guitar; Jessica Molaskey, Kurt Elling: vocals; Bucky Pizzarelli: acoustic guitar, electric guitar; Aaron Weinstein: violin; Andy Fusco: clarinet, alto saxophone; Kenny Berger: bass clarinet, baritone saxophone; Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Tony Kadleck: trumpet; John Mosca: trombone, alto horn; Larry Fuller: piano; Martin Pizzarelli: double bass; Tony Tedesco: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Telarc Records | Style: Vocal


Related Video

Shop For Jazz

Bailey's Bundles
New York Beat
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Double Exposure
Double Exposure
Telarc Records
2012
buy
Rockin' in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington
Rockin' in Rhythm: A...
Telarc Records
2010
buy
With a Song in My Heart
With a Song in My...
Telarc Records
2008
buy
Dear Mr. Sinatra
Dear Mr. Sinatra
Telarc Records
2006
buy
Knowing You
Knowing You
Telarc Records
2005
buy
Bossa Nova
Bossa Nova
Telarc Records
2004
buy
Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
vocalist
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Cab Calloway Cab Calloway
composer/conductor
Jane Monheit Jane Monheit
vocalist
Toninho Horta Toninho Horta
guitar

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.