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Bucky Pizzarelli: Challis In Wonderland

Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli & The Dick Lieb Strings

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Album Review

Bucky Pizzarelli salutes arranger Bill Challis, who was responsible for many of the most important charts played by the Jean Goldkette Orchestra and Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, along with helping transcribe the handful of compositions by legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. In his eighties at the time of these sessions, the seven-string guitarist shows no signs of slowing down, joined by bassist Jerry Bruno and on a few tracks adding his son John on guitar or a swinging string quartet led by the talented young violinist Aaron Weinstein with string arrangements by Dick Lieb. Most of the repertoire includes music of the '20s and '30s, with two exceptions. Pizzarelli's original "Challis in Wonderland" is a lush, laid-back ballad saluting the arranger performed as a guitar duet, while Bob Haggart's timeless ballad "What's New" has long been a part of the leader's repertoire. Zez Confrey (the novelty pianist and composer of "Kitten on the Keys") penned the obscure "Romanza," played as an intimate father/son duet. The trio's intricate reading of Beiderbecke's "In the Dark" is a lyrical masterpiece. Pizzarelli is buoyed by the strings in his breezy, toe-tapping rendition of Beiderbecke's "Davenport Blues," while the cornetist's "In a Mist" has long been a brilliant, expected solo feature for the guitarist at jazz parties. Weinstein switches to mandolin for a swinging setting of "Oh Baby" with the leader and Bruno. These rewarding sessions by Bucky Pizzarelli provide ample proof that the master guitarist keeps the spirits of Bix Beiderbecke and Bill Challis very much alive.


Born: January 9, 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...
Full Bio
Bucky Pizzarelli: Challis In Wonderland, Bucky Pizzarelli
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Mar 13, 2012

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