Buck Pizzarelli And The West Texas Tumbleweeds – Back In The Saddle Again – Arbors

by | Jul 9, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

"Buck" Pizzarelli And The West Texas Tumbleweeds – Back In The Saddle Again – Arbors Records ARCD 19414, 61:44 [Distr. by Allegro] ****:

(Bucky Pizzarelli – rhythm guitar, bass; John Pizzarelli – Guitar, Vocals; Martin Pizzarelli – bass; Tony Tedesco – drums; Monty Alexander – piano, melodian, vocals; Tommy White – pedal steel guitar; Aaron Weinstein – violin; Rebecca Kilgore – guitar, vocals; Andy Levas – guitar, vocals)

Jazz veteran Bucky Pizarelli’s second release in the Arbors Country Series is aptly titled, Back In The Saddle Again. This is nothing short of a delightful foray into “jazzy” cowboy music. Fronting a swing band with notable musicians (including relatives), thirteen classic western-flavored songs are infectious. No time is wasted as the group hits its rhythmic stride with “Lone Star Swing” The band play is impeccable, bolstered by the dual guitars, fiddle and the incandescent piano solo by Monty Alexander. Tommy White adds a smooth pedal steel riff, and we get to hear a country jam. Three Johnny Cash tunes are covered. “Folsom Prison Blues” takes the form of a funky blues piece with elaborate piano runs and hot rhythm licks. The vocals (Andy Levas) service the material, but don’t approximate the lower register punch than The Man In Black gave to the song. There are some outstanding vocals. Rebecca Kilgore shines on the languid, “Along The Navajo Trail”. Pizarelli adds his inimitable touch on bass guitar with relaxed confidence. Kilgore returns on “Hard Life Blues” as the group rips through their “countrified” 12-bar blues. John Pizzarelli brings a cool swagger to the track, evoking the ambiance of Route 66.

There is a reverence for the tradition of cowboy singing. “Drifting Along With The Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Back In The Saddle Again” have campfire warmth. The harmonies are understated and the instrumentation never over shadows the lyrics. Montgomery gets a shot to croon on “Happy Trails” His approach is more uptown in interpretation, but a well placed yodel brings it home. “Red River Valley” begins with a plaintive, nineteenth-century tone before transforming into upbeat tempo. The inherent humor of country (“…you came back, but you never meant to stay…”) is evident on “Heartaches By the Number”.

Back In The Saddle Ag
ain will have everyone clamoring for the next release.
 
TrackList: Lone Star Swing; Hey, Porter; There’s a Gold Mine InThe Sky; Back In The Saddle Again; Folsom Prison Blues; Along The Navajo Trail; Drifting Along With The Tumbling Tumbleweeds; Red River Valley; Understand Your Man; Cold Cold Heart; Heartaches By The Number; Hard Life Blues; Happy Trails
 
— Robbie Gerson

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