Jazz CD Reviews
John Pizzarelli – Rockin’ in Rhythm (A Tribute to Duke Ellington) – Telarc
Published on April 22, 2010
John Pizzarelli – Rockin’ in Rhythm (A Tribute to Duke Ellington) – Telarc TEL-31921-02 (Distr. by Concord Music) ****:
(John Pizzarelli, guitar & vocals; Martin Piazzarelli, doublebass; Tony Tedesco, drums; Tony Kadleck, trumpet; Larry Fuller, piano; John Mosca, trombone & alto horn; Andy Fusco, alto sax & clarinet; Kenny Berger, baritone sax & bass clarinet; Special Guests = Bucky Piazzarelli, guitars; Harry Allen, tenor sax; Kurt Elling & Jessica Molaskey, vocals; Aaron Weinstein, violin; Swing Seven arrangements by Don Sebesky)
John Pizzarelli had just completed an album tribute to one of Broadway’s greatest composers – Richard Rodgers – when he assembled his first Ellington recording – one of the greatest names in jazz ever. Just as did The Duke with the often unique members of his band, Piazzarelli crafted the arrangements and performances to fit the talents of the people on this date. He also hired the great Don Sebesky to do the arrangements for seven of the dozen tracks, which contribute mightily to this wonderful Ellington tribute. He brought in his brother Martin on bass and his father Bucky on guitars for some of the tracks. He also brought together the current top male jazz singer Kurt Elling to share with (John’s) wife Jessica Molaskey in the Lambert, Hendricks & Ross lyrics she wrote to a portion of Ellington’s Perdido.
Violinist Aaron Weinstein takes up the Ray Nance role with some great solos in C Jam Blues, In My Solitude, and the medley of East St. Louis Toodle-oo & Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. Trumpeter Harry Allen gets in some smashing solos on the C Jam Blues and I Got It Bad. Just Squeeze Me is a lovely guitar solo by John Pizzarelli – one of the tracks on which he doesn’t sing. And the whole Ellingtonesque session is wrapped up with two of the Duke’s biggest hits: a medley of Cottontail and the album title: Rockin’ in Rhythm.
TrackList: In a Mellow Tone; East St. Louis Toodle-oo/ Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; Satin Doll; C Jam Blues; In My Solitude; Just Squeeze Me; Perdido; All Too Soon; I’m Beginning to See the Light; Love Scene; I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good; Cottontail/ Rockin’ in Rhythm.
– John Sunier