July 20, 2011
Jazz Love: John Pizzarelli
Personally, I think the jazz guitar is grossly underrated among the we-listen-to-jazz-standards set. (Madre, I'm looking at you.) Joe Pass, as you know, is one of my great loves. Probably the best jazz-guitar performer right recording now is John Pizzarelli, who I got to see last Friday at the Carlyle Club (which is gorgeous...but they don't know what a Rickey is!). I took my Aunt for her birthday, and she just loves him and has seen him many times, but never in such an intimate setting. Out table was right next to the stage, and we could see the band interaction and hear beautifully. I, on the other hand, have never listened carefully to Pizzarelli, because his voice was too high for my liking. But, guys, he is great live--he tells stories and gabs and is just such a killer guitar player. And, perhaps best of all, he plays the standards that you don't hear every time you walk into an Italian restaurant. Plus, with age, his voice has mellowed a bit. He has a new Duke Ellington tribute album out, and he played "Just Squeeze Me" for us solo (with no vocals) and it was smoking. (Probably my favorite Ellington song.) Well, here's another Ellington tune: In a Mellow Tone.