Live at Birdland

Live at Birdland

5.0 1
by John Pizzarelli
     
 
This is a wonderful, warm-hearted, and effortlessly virtuosic live recording by one of the finest living exponents of pre-bop small-ensemble jazz. With pianist Ray Kennedy and bassist Martin Pizzarelli (and on two songs joined by vocalist Grover Kemble), singer and guitarist

Overview

This is a wonderful, warm-hearted, and effortlessly virtuosic live recording by one of the finest living exponents of pre-bop small-ensemble jazz. With pianist Ray Kennedy and bassist Martin Pizzarelli (and on two songs joined by vocalist Grover Kemble), singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli runs through a generally lightweight but thoroughly charming set of standards, homages, funny stories, and the occasional original tune; the fast tunes are light and frothy, the ballads smooth and gentle, and even the moments that are less than utterly inspired work together with the album's highlights to create a very satisfying whole. John Pizzarelli has a suit sponsor, which tells you something about what to expect of him as a singer: his voice is smooth and warm, offering a nice combination of Chet Baker's timbre and Dean Martin's fullness; as a guitarist you need to know that he favors seven-string guitars and flat-wound strings, leading him naturally to a swinging Django Reinhardt-meets-Freddie Green kind of sound. As for the trio's instrumentation, it's true that when you can comp with this kind of authority you don't technically need a drummer. But on a few tracks a drummer would have filled out the band's sound nicely. Highlights include the group's fun, slightly greasy take on "Frim Fram Sauce" and a great ode to Art Tatum called "Tea for Tatum," as well as a fine original blues composition titled "Headed Out to Vera's." Pizzarelli's own "Oh, How My Heart Beats for You" and "Day I Found You" are also wonderful. But the album's standout track is a limpidly gorgeous rendition of another original, "Better Run Before It's Spring." Pizzarelli is obviously having a blast in the intimate setting of the legendary Birdland club, and so will any jazz lover who takes the time to listen. Very highly recommended.

Editorial Reviews

Downbeat
Proves he can craft a song into a personal statement like few other artists.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2003
Label:
Telarc
UPC:
0089408357725
catalogNumber:
83577
Rank:
15144

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Introduction
  2. Just You, Just Me
  3. The Frim Fram Sauce
  4. This Song Is You
  5. Isn't It a Pity?
  6. Rhode Island (Intro)
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Ray Kennedy: Library of Congress Story
  9. Gospel Truth
  10. Ray Kennedy: Dizzy Gillespie Story
  11. Tea for Tatum
  12. James Taylor Intro, Pt. 1
  13. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
  14. James Taylor Intro, Pt. 2
  15. Mean Old Man
  16. Manhattan
  17. Rosemary Clooney Story
  18. Moonlight Becomes You
  19. Final (Intro)
  20. Will You Still Be Mine?

Disc 2

  1. Introduction
  2. Three Little Words
  3. They Can't Take That Away from Me
  4. Oh, How My Heart Beats for You
  5. The Day I Found You (The Pollywog Song)
  6. Polliwog Story
  7. It's Only a Paper Moon
  8. Stompin' at the Savoy
  9. Better Run Before It's Spring
  10. Grover Kemble Story
  11. Headed Out to Vera's
  12. Medley: Baby, Ain't I Good to You/Baby, Baby All the Time/Midnight ...
  13. I Like Jersey Best (Intro)
  14. I Like Jersey Best
  15. My Castle's Rockin'
  16. Baby Just Come Home to Me

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Pizzarelli   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Ray Kennedy   Piano
Grover Kemble   Vocals
Martin Pizzarelli   Bass

Technical Credits

Alberta Hunter   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
James Taylor   Composer
Matt Dennis   Composer
Neal Hefti   Composer
Edgar Sampson   Composer
Chick Webb   Composer
Don Redman   Composer
Bobby Troup   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Andy Razaf   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Johnny Burke   Composer
Howard Dietz   Composer
Redd Evans   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Jesse Greer   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Bert Kalmar   Composer
Grover Kemble   Composer
Raymond Klages   Composer
John Pizzarelli   Composer,Liner Notes
Martin Pizzarelli   Liner Notes
Joe Richards   Composer
Linda Rose   Composer
Harry Ruby   Composer
Arthur Schwartz   Composer
James Van Heusen   Composer
Robert Woods   Executive Producer
Robert Friedrich   Producer,Engineer
Michael H. Goldsen   Composer
Benny Goodman & His Orchestra   Composer
Anilda Carrasquillo   Art Direction,Booklet Design
Tom Adair   Composer
Joe Ricardel   Composer
John Pizzarelli Trio   Producer
Billy Rose   Composer
Michael Black   Cover Design

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Live at Birdland 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Pizzarelli is a wonderful musician who can make old songs that I have heard a thousand times sound new and fresh. All the musician's on this album are terrific. I have never seen the Pizzarelli Trio live, but, based on this album, I certainly want to see them.