Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio leaves his guitar in the case and croons 16 pop classics in a smooth, low-key style on This Is Pat DiNizio, his second solo album. As DiNizio points out in his liner notes, there's been a run on albums devoted to "the American songbook" in recent years, but while he tackles a couple bone fide standards here, for the most part the set list is made up of tunes familiar to anyone who came of age in the 1960s -- covers of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, Henry Mancini, Bacharach/David, Jimmy Webb, and more. DiNizio tackles these songs with no accompanists other than jazz pianist Jay Rowe, who handles the melodies in a tasteful and elegant manner. As for DiNizio, he's in fine voice on this set, and his phrasing is intelligent and well-considered, but the naturally moody tone of his instrument tends to favor the blue side of these selections, which works well on songs like "For No One" and "Where Is Love," but casts a shadow on "This Guy's in Love with You" and "Surfer Girl" that doesn't quite fit the material. Still, the album leaves no question that DiNizio has both the pipes and the musical sense to make this sort of project work, and "The Days of Wine and Roses," "Moon River," and "My Funny Valentine" suggest he could have a second career as a jazz singer ahead of him. A very pleasant surprise.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming