John Pizzarelli, the world-renowned guitarist and singer, was hailed by the Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” The Toronto Star pegged him as “the genial genius of the guitar.” And the Seattle Times saluted him as “a rare entertainer of the old school.”
Established as one of the prime contemporary interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Pizzarelli has expanded that repertoire by including the music of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Lennon-McCartney. His themed shows, often performed with his wife Jessica Molaskey, suggest there is no limit to Pizzarelli’s imagination or talent.
“The ability to infuse pop and jazz with a Chekhovian wisdom about life’s ups and downs is the special gift of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, long-married musical partners whose work gets deeper each year,” The New York Times raved about the show “Grownup Songs” at New York’s Café Carlyle.
The next step is introducing the solo work of Paul McCartney to his audience through his September 18, 2015 release on Concord Records, Midnight McCartney, and on stages around the world. The challenge, Pizzarelli says, is lining up the lesser-known McCartney songs alongside the works of Gershwin, Berlin and Rodgers.
“It’s not out of the realm to say, ‘Here are some excellent songs. What you just enjoyed and maybe thought was Johnny Mercer, is really Paul McCartney.’ I think they can all stand next to each other.”
Pizzarelli started playing guitar at age six, following in the tradition of his father. He turned to jazz in his late teens after playing in rock bands, and he received an education playing with his father Bucky Pizzarelli and many jazz greats who would influence his work: Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry and Slam Stewart, among others.
His solo recording career started in 1990 with My Blue Heaven on Chesky Records. He played clubs and concert halls on the jazz circuit, opening for such greats as Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis and Rosemary Clooney. In 1993, he was honored to open for Frank Sinatra’s international tour and then joined in the celebration for his 80th birthday at Carnegie Hall, bringing down the house singing “I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do” with his father accompanying him.
Pizzarelli’s hero and foundation over the last 25 years has been Nat “King” Cole, to whom he has devoted two albums, Dear Mr. Cole and P.S. Mr. Cole. Since 2013, Pizzarelli and pianist Ramsey Lewis have toured a Cole tribute show.
“His sound was singular and inspired,” Pizzarelli says. “I’ve always said we’re an extension, a 21st-century version of what that group was.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE….