John Pizzarelli: Stage & Screen

Rating: ★★★

Record and Artist Details


John Pizzarelli (v, g)
Isaiah J Thompson (p)
Mike Karn (b)


Palmetto Records


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Rec. 8–10 November 2021

“In thinking about some of the songs that I really love to play, it struck me how many of them come from either a Broadway show or from a movie,” singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli explains about the origins of his new album, Stage & Screen, which marks the 40th anniversary of his recording debut, I'm Hip (Please Don't Tell My Father) – on which he actually performed with his guitarist-father, Bucky. Previous Pizzarelli outings have featured homages to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Pat Metheny, not to mention the Fab Four (on 1998's John Pizzarelli Meets The Beatles), but here the focus is on the likes of Kander and Ebb, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Leonard Bernstein. Film sources include Casablanca, which gave a platform to ‘As Time Goes By’. Pizzarelli’ has a characterful if somewhat underpowered voice, but he imbues the repertoire with personality here, and his enthusiastic scatting over no less vigorous guitar breaks on the likes of ‘I Love Betsy’ and ‘Coffee In A Cardboard Cup’ is a delight.

There's terrific playing from the drummerless trio on instrumentals such as ‘I Want To Be Happy’ and ‘Oklahoma Suite’. It's a project with bags of charm.

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