John Pizzarelli

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John Pizzarelli
John Pizzarelli.jpg
Background information
Birth name John Paul Pizzarelli, Jr.
Born (1960-04-06) April 6, 1960 (age 54)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres Swing, jazz
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Labels Telarc, RCA, Novus, Chesky, Stash
Associated acts Bucky Pizzarelli, Martin Pizzarelli, Jessica Molaskey, Rosemary Clooney, Clark Terry

John Paul Pizzarelli, Jr. (born April 6, 1960) is an American jazz guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader. He has had a lengthy career as a recording artist, performing for a variety of labels that include Telarc Records, RCA Records and Chesky Records, among others. He has recorded twenty-three albums of his own, as well as other joint recordings with his father, Bucky Pizzarelli. Additionally, he has appeared on more than forty albums of other recording artists, including those of Sir Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Rosemary Clooney and his wife, Jessica Molaskey.

Biography[edit]

Career[edit]

Pizzarelli has recorded nearly 40 albums of music, either as the leader or in tandem with other performers. Among others, Pizzarelli has recorded with such luminaries as George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Frigo and Buddy DeFranco, as well as the Boston Pops Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Many if not most of his albums have received good to excellent reviews and are very popular sellers. Additionally, he has been a guest performer on numerous records throughout his career, for a total of over 140 albums.[1]

Pizzarelli often performs with his own jazz quartet, composed of his brother Martin Pizzarelli on double-bass, drummer Tony Tedesco and Larry Fuller on piano. He is also sometimes compared to another jazz singer, Harry Connick, Jr., for his performances of jazz standards and overall popularity.

Particularly lauded for his swinging interpretations of jazz standards, Pizzarelli also composes his own songs, some of which have achieved a sort of modern "standard" status in their own right. He is also a fan of bossa nova and released an album entirely composed of that type of music.

Perhaps his most famous and highly regarded album, though, is Dear Mr. Cole, an album featuring Pizzarelli's versions of some of Nat "King" Cole's most famous songs. Interestingly, the John Pizzarelli Trio only appears together on track one of the album, "Style is Back in Style". The rest features Pizzarelli performing with Christian McBride on bass and Benny Green on piano.

Pizzarelli is also known for his winning personality, and his great rapport with audiences during his live performances has gone a long way to garnering him cachet with the jazz public. He is also known to sing his solo lines while playing his guitar. His major vocal influences include Nat Cole and New Jersey jazz singer/accordionist Joe Mooney, known for his relaxed singing style.

Pizzarelli sang the theme for Foxwoods Casino, "The Wonder of It All", in commercials.

Pizzarelli and his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey co-host the nationally syndicated weekly radio program Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli.

He appeared on the March 31, 2007 episode of the NPR weekly radio news quiz, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, on the "Not My Job" segment.

Pizzarelli sings "Birthday Emotions" on Sesame Street which is a song about feeling happy and proud while the kids who are in the music video jump in the air and celebrate a birthday as one of the guests of honor.

On October 30, 2012, the book "World on a String: A Musical Memoir", an autobiography of Pizzarelli by John Pizzarelli and Joseph Cosgriff, was published.

Personal life[edit]

Pizzarelli, an Italian American, was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. During childhood, Pizzarelli was a counselor at the now defunct Knights Day Camp. He grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey and attended Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, New Jersey, an all-boys Roman Catholic High School.[2] He frequently expresses pride about being from New Jersey; a fan favorite at his live shows is the Cosgriff-Bernardi number I Like Jersey Best, a largely humorous tribute to the Garden State.

Pizzarelli is a huge Boston Red Sox fan, and has played baseball (in one capacity or another) all his life. In high school he split his time between studying music and playing sports. As he once said in an interview: "I wasn't making any of the sports teams and I was a big sports fanatic. That's when I realized there was a reason why I was going to band practice." In April, 2007 he performed at the BLOHARDS luncheon at The Yale Club of New York City, the BLOHARDS being Red Sox Nation chapter in New York.[3]

He married singer Jessica Molaskey in 1998, and the couple have a daughter, Madeleine. Pizzarelli also has a son, John Paul Pizzarelli, who is now attending college. They now live in New York City.

Select discography[edit]

John Pizzarelli albums[edit]

Released Album Notes Label
2012 Double Exposure - -
2010-02-23 Rockin' In Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington - Telarc International
2008-08-19 With a Song in My Heart - Telarc International
2006-07-18 Dear Mr. Sinatra - Telarc International
2005-03-22 Knowing You - Telarc International
2004-04-27 Bossa Nova - Telarc International
2003-04-22 Live at Birdland - Telarc International
2002-04-23 The Rare Delight of You w/ George Shearing Telarc International
2000-11-28 Let There Be Love - Telarc International
2000-10-10 Two Family House film soundtrack RCA Records
2000-06-06 Brazil w/ Rosemary Clooney Concord Jazz
2000-02-22 Kisses In The Rain - Telarc International
1999-09-14 P.S. Mr. Cole - RCA Records
1998-08-25 Meets The Beatles - RCA Records
1997-04-29 Our Love Is Here to Stay - RCA Records
1996-10-06 Let's Share Christmas - RCA Records
1996-01-16 After Hours - Novus
1994-06-28 New Standards - Novus
1994-11-23 Dear Mr. Cole - Novus/RCA
1993-02-09 Naturally - Novus
1992-02-14 All Of Me - Novus
1990-04-18 My Blue Heaven - Chesky Records
1988-11-01 One Night With You - Chesky Records
1987-?-? Sing! Sing! Sing! - P-Vine Records
1985-06-25 Hit That Jive Jack! - Stash Records
1983-05-? I'm Hip (Please Don't Tell My Father) - Stash Records

John & Bucky albums[edit]

Released Album Notes Label
2007-04-10 Generations - Arbors Records
2006-02-28 The Best of Bucky and John Pizzarelli - LRC Ltd.
2006-?-? Around the World in 80 Years - Victoria Records
2003-07-01 Legends w/ Skitch Henderson Arbors Records
2001-06-08 Twogether - Victrola Records
2001-06-03 Passionate Guitars - LRC Ltd.
1999-05-14 Passion Guitars - Groove Jams
1999-02-09 Contrasts - Arbors Records
1996-07-23 Solos and Duets - Jazz Classics
1996-05-14 Live at the Vineyard Theatre - Challenge Records
1995-08-01 Nirvana - Delta Records

With Jessica Molaskey[edit]

Released Album Notes Label
2007-05-08 Sitting in Limbo - P.S. Classics
2004-10-05 Make Believe - P.S. Classics
2003-05-20 A Good Day - P.S. Classics
2002-06-04 Pentimento - Image Records

As guest or sideman[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Pizzarelli's Complete Discography
  2. ^ Hicks, Robert. "Jazzman pays tribute to Sinatra", Daily Record (Morristown), June 12, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2011. "John studied at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey before heading off to college at the University of Tampa."
  3. ^ News From the BLOHARDs

External links[edit]