Bucky Pizzarelli's distinct combination of chords and single notes separates him from most guitarists. He has also been playing since the swing era and continues to have a commitment to earlier forms of jazz. On One Morning in May he plays a seven-string guitar without accompaniment on 21 standards, creating something akin to pure Pizzarelli. A lovely five-minute version of Bix Beiderbecke's "Candle Lights," filled with subtle, melancholy shadings, is a pleasant surprise. The only other piece of this length is another number, "In a Mist," by Beiderbecke. Other nice choices include two Billy Strayhorn compositions, "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" and "Blood Count." Playing solo allows Pizzarelli to fluctuate within each piece, moving between steady swing and a more intimate, quiet approach; playing solo also gives the listener a chance to hear the nuances of his style without interference. Even on more familiar songs like the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me" or "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," his interpretations are fresh and vital. The tone of Pizzarelli's guitar is warm and friendly, and this personal approach works well for the mostly mellow material on One Morning in May. Historically, Pizzarelli's style offers a strand to the great chordal guitarists of the '20s and '30s like Carl Kress, Dick McDonough, and George Van Eps. This release should appeal to anyone who enjoys quality guitar jazz, and will certainly appeal to Pizzarelli's fans. It is also refreshing that labels like Arbors continue to record classic jazz players.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.