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P.S. Mr. Cole

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Album Review

Just as when we listen to Harry Connick, Jr., there's a sense that John Pizzarelli is an old soul who is living back in the 1940s and '50s golden age of music and that listeners are time-traveling with him. But that just bears testament to the timeless nature of his easy vocals, lush and often snappy electric guitar work and the loving way he embraces classic material. P.S. Mr. Cole, the follow-up to Dear Mr. Cole is as, pardon the expression, unforgettable as his first tribute to the grace and panache of Nat King Cole. Just as with his recent tribute to the Beatles, Pizzarelli is just fine on the soft, sparse ballads but saves his most interesting interpretations for swinging trio arrangements. Because this is the sequel, the tunes aren't all household hums, and that makes this even more interesting. "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" swings gently along, breaks for a colorful guitar-piano duet (with Ray Kennedy), then speeds up towards the dramatic conclusion. "Welcome to the Club," whose lyric marvelously chronicles the shared experience of being a fool in love, opens with the singer scatting over a buoyant rhythm section (cleverly belying the melancholy nature of the theme). Other titles he adds his unique flair to are "The Late Late Show," "Tenderly," and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" (which could have perhaps been done with a little more wryness). Recently Pizzarelli declared that he's not intimidated putting his own originals alongside classics, and his tribute tune, "That's Nat," is one of the most adventurous pieces here. Perhaps Pizzarelli should do a few duets next time with Natalie Cole. That would be unforgettable, too.


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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P.S. Mr. Cole, John Pizzarelli
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