Review: ‘John Pizzarelli’

Good news on the John Pizzarelli front; his act has become more ingratiating than ever, tighter in musicianship, and even more inclusive in a light-hearted way.

Good news on the John Pizzarelli front; his act has become more ingratiating than ever, tighter in musicianship, and even more inclusive in a light-hearted way.

As in previous gigs, the boyish-looking singer/guitarist continues to work in his favorite retro King Cole Trio format — guitar, piano and upright bass. It should then come as no surprise that Pizzarelli’s brand-new Novus/RCA album, “Dear Mr. Cole,” pays effusive homage to Nat Cole’s repertoire, even to the point of mimicking a few of Cole’s arrangements.

What’s encouraging is that Pizzarelli isn’t frozen into a sound and style that had its heyday half a century ago. He spreads the net just a little wider now, taking into account the boomers and younger people in the audience. Indeed the highlight of the night was the comic romp “I Like Jersey Best,” which combined a catalog of the sights of the Garden State with some really sharp parodies of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Paul Simon.

Still, the essence of the act remains a fond, sometimes corny, always spiffy excursion back to the days of Tin Pan Alley — even in Pizzarelli’s own tunes. Pizzarelli’s voice is shedding some of the callowness that marred his debut Novus album three years ago, and he has a stage presence and rapport with his band and audience that make his CDs seem like incomplete sketches.

John Pizzarelli

Jazz Bakery, 200 seats, $15 top

Production

Presented by the Jazz Bakery. Reviewed March 3, 1995.

Cast

Band: John Pizzarelli, Martin Pizzarelli, Ray Kennedy.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Marketplace

    Leave a Reply

    No Comments

    Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    More Music News from Variety

    Loading