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Double Exposure

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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


Like chocolate in your peanut butter, or peanut butter in your chocolate...

Nice arrangements….ruined by the singing

Let's face it…this guy is not a singer. Stick to creating clever arrangements and playing guitar. Leave the singing to a real singer.

Dynamic Duo

First, the surprise song on this set is "Diamond Girl" which really took me by surprise, since I did not like the original. Great jazzy tempo and almost "hip-ness" about it that makes me play it over.

Now to the best, which is Pizzarelli's duet with his wife Jessica Molaskey, on the tunes "Traffic Jam/The Kicker." I love scat when done right, and these two make the songs fun and truely extend my amazement as to how some can sing like that. I am also amazed that Donald fagen did not program the collection, since he's got "Walk Between the Raindrops" and "Ruby Baby" on his solo effort. But as you read on this disc is about performers like Fagan, Joni Mitchell and it comes together.

This is a wonderful "scrap book' of tunes, but I did not love all the "pages." Suffice it to say, songs like "Free Man In Paris" and 'Take A Lot of Pictures" are so superb that I'll listen often, and for that I highly recommend this one.


Born: April 6, 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....
Full Bio
Double Exposure, John Pizzarelli
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Customer Ratings