John Pizzarelli – Dear Mr. Sinatra (with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) – Telarc Jazz

by | Jun 26, 2006 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

John Pizzarelli – Dear Mr. Sinatra (with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) – Telarc Jazz CD-83638, 39:12 **** [Release date is July 18]:

In his seventh CD for Telarc John Pizzarelli pays homage to Frank Sinatra, and his generally laid back but swinging vocal style and timbre is perfect – not imitating Ol’ Blue Eyes but offering an up-to-date take on some of the tunes he had made famous. Actually John’s father Bucky Pizzarelli had played guitar on many of Sinatra’s recordings.  Plus John and his quartet had opened for Sinatra himself at some dates in the early 1990s and said Sinatra would come onstage when they finished and cheer for them.

John was scheduled to do a tour to Japan with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, with whom he had performed before. He saw that as a great opportunity to plan and rehearse for a Sinatra album and here it is. Besides the arrangements of co-leader John Clayton, Pizzarelli also employed Don Sebesky and Quincy Jones among others. In his liner notes he points up the importance of the arrangements in making the tribute a success. John uses a new set of lyrics for the tune Nice ‘n’ Easy which Sinatra never recorded, and one of the Quincy Jones arrangements was designed originally for the Sinatra/Count Basie Band album.

I was nonplussed to find no total time listing on the disc even after a thorough search. Telarc has had that on all their albums lately. After I timed it I suspected why.  Telarc shouldn’t be cagey about the disc’s shorter length – this is such a great vocals/big band album that I can’t imagine anyone feeling shortchanged!

Tracks: Ring-A-Ding Ding, You Make Me Feel So Young, How About You?, If I Had You, Witchcraft, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Nice ‘n’ Easy, Medley: I See Your Face Before Me/In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Can’t We Be Friends?, Yes Sir That’s My Baby, Last Dance.

— John Henry


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