© Andrea Canter
“Hip with a wink” — Town & Country
John Pizzarelli, already familiar to Twin Cities audiences from a series of performances at the Dakota, headlined the 2016 Twin Cities Jazz Festival and further expanded the local fan base. His joy is as infectious as his swinging time is therapeutic. The singing guitarist returns to the Dakota with his touring quartet on Sunday, April 9, with two shows at 6 and 8 pm.
Born in New Jersey, young John Pizzarelli was surrounded by the jazz greats who played with his father, famed guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. Picking up the guitar himself at age six, John’s early influences were the greatest artists of the time, including Erroll Garner, Django Reinhardt and Les Paul. And his first partner as a professional? Bucky Pizzarelli. A fine vocalist as well as guitarist, John and his ensembles have often been compared to the great groups of Nat King Cole. He appeared in the 1997 Broadway revue of Johnny Mercer tunes, Dream, and has gained a reputation as one of the great modern interpreters of the kings of American song, Cole and Sinatra. He’s been a prolific recording artist, with 20+ recordings including the Grammy-nominated collection of Richard Rogers tunes, With a Song in My Heart (2008). His most recent release, Midnight McCartney (2015), pays homage to the post-Beatles compositions of Paul McCartney.
John has collaborated with such pop icons as James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Tom Wopat, Rickie Lee Jones and Dave Von Ronk, as well as jazz giants Rosemary Clooney, Ruby Braff, Johnny Frigo, Buddy DeFranco, Harry Allen and of course Bucky Pizzarelli. His television credits include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Live With Regis & Kelly, The Tony Danza Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox News Channel and Jerry Lewis’s Labor Day Telethon. Also a popular radio personality, John co-hosts the weekly “Radio Deluxe” alongside wife/vocalist Jessica Molaskey.
The John Pizzarelli Quartet was an obvious crowd-pleaser at the 2016 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, closing down the fest in Mears Park with a set that kept the audience clapping for a good 90 minutes. The quartet included pianist Konrad Paszkudzki, bassist (brother) Martin Pizzarelli and drummer Kevin Kanner. And as observed in his live performance, John’s exhuberant interaction with his audience extends beyond song to what could readily become a stand-up comedy routine fit for a club on the Las Vegas strip. It can be hard to project similar energy on an audio recording, but time and time again, John Pizzarelli has proven that he can do just that. Of course such proof will not be needed on Sunday, April 9, when you can hear the John Pizzarelli Quartet live at the Dakota.
The Dakota Jazz Club is located at 1010 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis; two shows at 6 and 8 pm, reservations strongly recommended at 612-332-5299 or www.dakotacooks.com.