211

John Pizzarelli: Rockin' in Rhythm

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
He's the captain of cool. It seems no matter which songs he performs, guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli always delivers a certain amount of dashing and debonair. Rockin' in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington is no exception.

Items repeatedly culled from the American Songbook can become trite. But Pizzarelli has a knack for making the old seem new, fresh, and invigorating. He was very young when Ellington died in 1974, but his father, Bucky Pizzarelli, taught him much about one of the jazz world's most revered composers and band leaders. For this collection, Pizzarelli calls upon his regular accompanists drummer Tony Tedesco, pianist Larry Fuller and bassist/brother Martin Pizzarelli. along with a horn section on some tracks and special guests including vocalist Kurt Elling.



While Pizzarelli sings "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," the band plays the melody to "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo." It's a clever arrangement that features Tony Kadleck on muted trumpet, answering the lyrics with fills between lines as Fuller solos over the same background. In the liner notes, Pizzarelli gives a nod to Steely Dan on his cover of "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo," the only non- vocal song the group ever recorded.

Ellington's piano can almost be heard as Pizzarelli sings "Satin Doll." The arrangement is straightforward, but the coolness of his voice helps distinguish this track, with Bucky Pizzarelli soloing. On the next pass, Tedesco answers the vocalist's calls.

Pizzarelli's wife, Jessica Molaskey composed lyrics for "Perdido," on which she and Elling sing as the bouncing bass line starts the piece, followed by Pizzarelli and Elling trading leads. At different times the voices are in unison or in harmony, à la The Manhattan Transfer meets the Andrew Sisters. They break off into all combinations of pairs, sometimes with Pizzarelli and Molaskey responding to Elling.

Pizzarelli has worked with many jazz icons over the course of his career. Among them are the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Buddy DeFranco and Natalie Cole. Nat "King" Cole is recognized as Pizzarelli's hero, but a look at his discography confirms that he holds others in high regard as well, including James Taylor Quartet and Frank Sinatra and, in the words of Stevie Wonder, "The king of all, Sir Duke."

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: guitar, vocals; Martin Pizzarelli: double bass; Tony Tedesco: drums; Larry Fuller: piano; Tony Kadleck: trumpet; John Mosca: trombone and E-flat alto horn; Andy Fusco: alto sax and clarinet; Kenny Berger: baritone and bass clarinet; Harry Allen: tenor sax (4, 11); Kurt Elling: vocals (7); Jessica Molaskey: vocals (7); Bucky Pizzarelli: electric and acoustic rhythm guitar (3, 8, 11); Aaron Weinstein: violin (2, 4, 5).

Title: Rockin' in Rhythm | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Telarc Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul18Thu
John Pizzarelli Trio "For Centennial Reasons: 100...
Vail Square
Vail, CO
Jul23Tue
John Pizzarelli
Birdland
New York, NY
$40
Jul23Tue
Ken Peplowski, John Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski Quartet
Birdland Theater
New York, NY
Jul23Tue
John Pizzarelli
Birdland
New York, NY
$40
Jul24Wed
John Pizzarelli
Birdland
New York, NY
$40
Jul24Wed
John Pizzarelli
Birdland
New York, NY
$40
Jul25Thu
John Pizzarelli
Birdland
New York, NY
$40

Related Articles

Read New York Trio Album Reviews
New York Trio
By Troy Dostert
July 18, 2019
Read Invincible Nimbus Album Reviews
Invincible Nimbus
By Jerome Wilson
July 18, 2019
Read Syzygy Album Reviews
Syzygy
By Don Phipps
July 18, 2019
Read Visions Album Reviews
Visions
By Friedrich Kunzmann
July 18, 2019
Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019