John Pizzarelli’s latest should come as a surprise to no one. The fact that he’s been influenced by Jobim and his many disciples is evident in his past work. And it should come as no surprise that Pizzarelli serves this music as well as it serves him.
The touchstones are here. The opener is “One Note Samba.” It’s a good start for him to show off his relaxed-as-can-be vocals and guitar playing. The nylon-string solo dominates the proceedings. His duo section in the middle with Ray Kennedy on piano is one of the highlights of the album. Jobim makes several appearances. “Girl From Ipanema” features Jobim’s grandson, Daniel Jobim. Lovely chordal work and a nice John vocal propel “Desafinado.”
There are also fresh interpretations of other songs, including James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face.” John shows off some electric playing, and the bossa nova rearrangement and vocal calls to mind something that someone like Kenny Rankin might do. A very nice cut. Same for “Fascinatin’ Rhythm.”
Fans of Pizzarelli will love this. Fans of this style of music will also view it as a worthwhile addition to their collection. Excellent singing and guitar playing dominate a very relaxed session.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.