Some may say that John Pizzarelli will always live in the shadow of his father, guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli. However, throughout the years, John has been establishing himself as a gifted jazz guitarist and arranger known for adding a cool jazz flavor to whatever he does. His latest CD release, Double Exposure, is proof (no pun intended) of this as he combines the two styles of music that heavily influenced him growing up in this refreshing collection of jazz/pop mashups.
The Beatles with Lee Morgan; Billy Strayhorn and Tom Waits; and Seals & Croft complementing Miles Davis are just some of the pairings Pizzarelli fuses to create his distinct brand of stylish modern jazz. He has a genuine love for the artists and material he reinterprets and does them all justice with his elegant, yet swinging playing. As you listen, it quickly becomes obvious why the young Pizzarelli is a worldwide phenomenon, touring and appearing on TV, radio and the stage.
When it comes to vocals though, Pizzarelli does leave a lot to be desired on Double Exposure. His voice may be clear and smooth, but it does not fluctuate much as the album progresses. He performs in the same range for most of the songs which can get a little boring. The only good thing about this is that it allows you to focus your attention more on the instrumentals which are astounding. Pizzarelli strips down each track, toning down the pop and rock so that the strains of sophisticated jazz can wind their way through, putting you under a spell.
My personal favorite pieces include “I Feel Fine/ Sidewinder,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Take A Lot of Pictures,” but every number offers a newfound appreciation of the iconic songs it’s blended from.
For more information on Double Exposure, please visit John Pizzarelli’s website.