John Pizzarelli, Guitar, Vocalist
Martin Pizzarelli, Bass
Ray Kennedy, Piano
Publicity, Mike Wilpizeski, Telarc
315 West 44th Street, NYC
Gianni Valenti, Owner
Tarik Osman, Manager
By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 28, 2003
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
This first set began with an easy swing beat, apparently a refrain that symbolizes the Pizzarelli Trio. Jon and Martin Pizzarelli are the sons of Bucky Pizzarelli, the famed guitaris. This was good, smooth jazz. Sweet Lorraine began with a melancholy and playful mood. John led the vocal theme, along with a mellow, romantic guitar and switched keys, mid-theme, in a highly effective manner. The piano used an extremely jazzy rhythm to offset the simple melody with eloquence, and Martin's bass was good backup. In Gershwin's Lady Be Good, a song with sassiness and sex appeal, which also figured in Who Cares, NYC Ballet, one heard the potential for real Savoy Swing. There was fast scat rhythm in John's vocal, which literally matched the sound of Martin's bass. I heard a combination of Janis Siegel's scat and the Hot Club style of Django Reinhardt. Ray's keyboard picked up the theme with lightning speed, and Martin played a short solo bass.
The next piece, a heart-rending lullaby, Guess I'll Hang My Teardrops Out To Dry, relied on Martin's bass for soft support. An arranger, Don Sibeski, was announced in the audience, and the next song was for him, a song about football, Jamboree Jones. This was a buoyant song, with humor and respect, and the audience was obviously entertained. In Tea for Tatum, for Art Tatum , John sounded quite like his father, Bucky, as he played a Django styled Swing rhythm, but with a more modern approach. John has a youthful attitude, with less reverence and more improvisation. With Ray's keyboard support, the music flew. Martin was imitative of his brother's guitar, on bass, with a fast, rich, and well-rehearsed sound. John had an endearing quality, with asides and jokes for the audience, with a self-deprecating, but confident personality. In Our Love Is Here To Stay, another Gershwin favorite, John sang with pathos, mixing his rhythms with ease. I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket followed some references to the Grammy award that had eluded this Trio, and it was presented in a medium to fast rhythm, as an energetic Swing. Ray's piano was the most progressive element of the Trio, and these three musicians are perfectly combined.
Two new pieces followed, one with a Django Swing style and one as a humorous take on Foxwoods Casino. In I Like Jersey Best, a hilarious invention, John and his Trio performed in the style of numerous musicians, including Paul Simon, Bob Dillon, James Taylor, and The Beach Boys. The audience not only voiced its enthusiasm, but also participated in some of the refrains. I highly recommend looking for the John Pizzarelli Trio in the various Clubs and stages. They are highly talented and entertaining musicians. I'm sure Bucky is quite proud.
Photos by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower Guest Photographer, Hilliard Greene
Ray Kennedy (Piano), John Pizzarelli (Guitar), Martin Pizzarelli (Bass)
Ray Kennedy and Martin Pizzarelli
Ray Kennedy and Hilliard Greene
John Pizzarelli, Martin Pizzarelli, Ray Kennedy
Andy Kaufman, Birdland Co-Owner
James and Maureen, Bartenders
John Pizzarelli and Mike Wilpizeski (Telarc)
Andy Kaufman and Hilliard Greene
Roberta and Tarik Osman, Owner
Rosana Casagrande and Sabrina Montero