There can be no question that guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarrelli, as the son of the late, iconic guitarist Bucky, was born with special musical DNA… and for the past 40 years plus, Pizzarelli the younger has honed his craft and performed to sold-out concert halls and venues throughout the world. Joining him on a new project that pays tribute to a dozen compositions that have been presented on both stage and screen, are his intuitive collaborators Isaiah Thompson on piano and Michael Karn on bass.
The opening salvo, Too Close for Comfort is a jaunty, swinging take from the 1956 Broadway hit Mr. Wonderful that showcases Pizzarelli’s impossibly pure vocal instrument, as well as his gorgeous intonation. A snappy, sinuous piano solo from Thompson and a fine unison voice/guitar scat section are the icing on the proverbial cake. Another choice, up-tempo track is I Want to Be Happy, where prodigious 7-string guitar technique takes one’s breath away and Karn renders a facile “in the pocket” solo.
Bernstein’s Some Other Time from On the Town is performed as a pristine guitar solo that plucks our heart strings all-the-while weaving melodic and lyrical magic. Other delights include Pizzarelli’s percolating arrangement of Just in Time from Comden and Green’s Bells Are Ringing, and the Oklahoma Suite, which is the lovely synthesis of three tunes from the beloved American musical. Closing the set is a gleaming gem: As Time Goes By, which is authentically performed with a fully restored verse. A stellar collection, lovingly drawn from our shared art forms of music, theatre and film.