Bucky Pizzarelli and Strings: So Hard to Forget – Arbors Records ARCD 19270 ***** [Distr. by Allegro]:
(Bucky Pizzarelli, 7-string & acoustic guitar; Aaron Weinstein & Sara Caswell, violins; Valerie Levy, viola; Jesse Levy, cello; Jerry Bruno, bass; Guests: Martin Pizzarelli, bass (tr.9), Frank Vignola, guitar (tr.8 & 12))
Although his vocalist/guitarist son John is getting all the attention lately, 82-year-old Bucky Pizzarelli is one of finest jazz guitarists in the business, and has worked with such people as Les Paul, Stephane Grappelli and Benny Goodman. He played with Doc Severinsen’s band on the Carson Show and had been a staffman for Dick Cavett in the 50s. He says his main influences are Django, George Van Eps and Freddie Green. His two uncles were professional musicians and got him started on his career. Two other of his children besides John are professional musicians – Mary is a classical guitarist, and Martin plays bass on one track of this CD.
The concept of this album is a set of treasured tunes of the past, and it even includes two classical selections – a Sonatina by Torroba and a Tarantella by Castelnuovo-Tedesco – performed on a classical acoustic guitar. Bucky is joined by a string quartet and on a few of the tracks by another guitarist or a bassist. Launching the concert is one of the all-time greatest movie themes – David Raksin’s Laura. Anything of Ellington’s is a favorite of Bucky’s and one of the tracks is an Ellington medley on which Bucky switches to electric guitar and is joined by hot violinist Aaron Weinstein. Later in the program another Ellington number – Prelude to a Kiss – is heard. There’s also an original tune by Bucky, a tribute to his wife Ruth. What a great warm sound all these strings produce! And the recording captures it perfectly.
TrackList: Laura, Slow Burning, Ellington Medley, It’s Easy to Remember, TORROBA: Sonatina in A – 1st & 2nd movements; My One and Only Love, Prelude to a Kiss, Wabash One More Time, CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Tarantella Op. 87a, Test Pilot, Boots Blues, Last Night When We Were Young.
– John Henry