Alisa will be chatting with guitarist John Pizzarelli. John is the son of noted jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. He makes his home in NY where he has regular engagements with his wife Jessica Molansky at the Cafe Carlyle and at Birdland. From his web site bio:
“Pizzarelli started playing guitar at age six, following in the tradition of his father. After playing in pickup groups and garage bands through high school he began exploring jazz with his father as a teenager, and was able to perform with a number of great jazz musicians who would be a major influence on his work, including Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry and Slam Stewart. John went out on his own after recording My Blue Heaven for Chesky Records in 1990, then toured extensively, playing clubs and concert halls, 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.
For Pizzarelli though, his hero and foundation was Nat “King” Cole and the comparison to his iconic trio is the highest of compliments. “I’ve always said in my concerts that Nat ‘King’ Cole is why I do what I do.” But Pizzarelli adds, “We aren’t trying to copy him. His sound was singular and inspired. I’ve always said we’re an extension, a 21st century version of what that group was.” In fact, Pizzarelli devoted his RCA albums Dear Mr. Cole and P.S. Mr. Cole to music made famous by the beloved song stylist.”
This leads in to his current project which is a Nat King Cole tribute titled “Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Nat King Cole Tribute featuring Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli”. You can catch him on 21 March in the Venetian room at the Fairmont Hotel.
Here is a video that talks about his 2012 album Double Exposure. He takes pop songs of the 70s and 80s and sets them to jazz arrangements.