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Double Exposure

John Pizzarelli

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Album Review

On this album, jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli pays simultaneous tribute to the pop music of his adolescence (Steely Dan, Billy Joel, the Allman Brothers, Elvis Costello) and the jazz tradition in which he, as a member of the celebrated Pizzarelli dynasty, was steeped from his earliest years. The album title refers to the fact that the program takes classic pop songs and puts them in jazz settings: thus you'll hear a cool bossa nova arrangement of Joni Mitchell's "Free Man in Paris," a completely natural lounge-lizard setting of Tom Waits' "Drunk on the Moon," and a hard-swinging, boppish version of James Taylor's "Traffic Jam" that sounds like it was written for the Manhattan Transfer and incorporates the Joe Henderson composition "The Kicker." There's nothing particularly revolutionary about this idea: the line separating pop music and jazz has always been fuzzy anyway, and many jazz standards are actually show tunes. But Pizzarelli is an unusually gifted arranger as well as a drop-dead wonderful guitarist, and on several of these arrangements he suggests entirely new ways of thinking about these familiar songs. Consider, for example, his subtly elegant use of organ and violin on Neil Young's "Harvest Moon," or the way he sneaks material from Wes Montgomery's "Four on Six" into a snappy rendition of the Allman Brothers' instrumental "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." It's also true that Pizzarelli is not gifted with a conventionally beautiful voice. He is, however, an excellent singer: listen the how he makes the most of what he's got on his voice-and-guitar bossa nova setting of Billy Joel's "Rosalinda's Eyes." What's charming about this album, beyond the sheer quality of the songs and the arrangements, is Pizzarelli's obvious and genuine love for this really broad gamut of material, and his insight into the varied qualities that make them all great songs.

Customer Reviews

The Album Review is bang on.

The Album Review is bang on ~ this is a wonderful album. John Pizzarelli is also a terrific entertainer and such a treat to see LIVE. Not only is he exceptionally talented, he's one heck of a funny guy! Congrats on this new album. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Mighty fine album

What can I say? This album is well worth the listen. Great covers and original material. (Try to get "Take a Lot of Pictures" out of your head!)

Biography

Born: April 06, 1960 in Paterson, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jazz guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli is a technically proficient fretman with a soft voice, charming stage presence, and knack for uptempo swing. Most often performing in a trio setting sans drums, Pizzarelli has found his niche covering jazz standards and American popular song in his own urbane style. The son of journeyman swing guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, John began performing with his father at age 20 and made his recorded debut with his 1983 release, I'm Hip — Please Don't Tell My Father....
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Double Exposure, John Pizzarelli
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