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April Kisses

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Album Review

Master guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli offers 20 short, patient solo pieces played on his seven-string, acoustic, Benedetto, plectrum, archtop, hollow-bodied, double f-hole instrument. They reflect the style and compositions of early pioneers Carl Kress, Eddie Lang, and George VanEps, and emphasize that Pizzarelli was, and still is in the company of these peers, mentors, and historic figures. A flamenco tinge is unmistakable on the first two numbers, Kress' "Helena" and the Lang written title cut. Then a classical, no-time feeling comes about on the regret filled three part Kress suite "Afterthoughts." By "The End of a Love Affair" Pizzarelli's guitar is weeping and moaning. George M. Smith is another figurehead in this tradition and he gets his due on "Slow Burning," as does Django Reinhardt for "Tears." More classical sounding selections as Kress' "Love Song" make way for tunes with some tempo, like the two beat Pizzarelli original "Indy Annie," based on "Back Home Again in Indiana," the upbeat Kress number "Sutton Mutton," and the slower VanEps chestnut "Squattin' at the Grotto." Pizzarelli tosses in a polka-like, cat quick single line with chordal accented tribute to bassist Slam Stewart "Slamerino," a technical marvel. Concluding the program are more swinging displays like Kress' "Peg Leg Shuffle," Bucky's hard driving "Stompin' for Boz," and the slicker "Silk City Blues." Pizzarelli's sound should be put on the commodities market and sold as a public offering. This music is much more precious than bars of gold. Only the lack of a rhythm section might detract more listeners from getting next to this beautifully conceived work. Those who don't need bass and drums surely will treasure this regardless. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 09 January 1926 in Paterson, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A superior guitarist appreciated by swing musicians in particular, Bucky Pizzarelli has been a fixture in jazz and the studios since the early '50s. Self-taught, Pizzarelli has long been a master of the seven-string guitar. He toured with Vaughn Monroe before and after a stint in the military. In 1952, Pizzarelli joined the staff of NBC and 12 years later he switched to ABC; in addition, he worked with the Three Sounds (1956-1957) and had several tours with Benny Goodman. In the 1970s he was more...
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April Kisses, Bucky Pizzarelli
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