Few guitarists have been around as long (and done as much) as Bucky Pizzarelli. He’s been playing with big bands, small-group combos, chairmen-of-the-boards (he was Sinatra’s favorite guitarist), and in studios for many years. Add to that his son, John, being one of the young traditionalists on jazz guitar, and you’ve got quite a legacy.
That said, this CD was probably a hoot for Bucky. It’s a live recording of Bucky and four friends in New York last February, and it’s a straight-ahead blowing session that swings hard.
The band has Bucky, Peter Appleyard on vibes, Allen Vache on clarinet, Michael Moore on bass, and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums. And man do they swing. The soloing all around is a treat, with Bucky showing imagination and chops, and Vache and Appleyard sticking with him on some tough, smart playing. Purdie, not exactly someone you’d associate with this kind of session, is wonderful.
Bucky’s solos give him a chance to show his chops, starting with imaginative single-lines, and then building to wonderful chord solos and a mixture of chords and octaves, they really let him show he knows the fretboard as well as anyone.
Tune selection is not a great surprise, either. You’ll hear “Lester Leaps In,” “Dinah,” “Limehouse Blues” and four others that fit the bill. That’s not to say they’re boring. The band really brings out the best in each tune, and vice versa. If you’re a fan of good old swinging sessions where the players just fly, you’ll love this.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.