Bucky Pizzarelli

5 for Freddie: Bucky's Tribute to Freddie Green

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Bucky Pizzarelli's tribute to Freddie Green, the heart of the Count Basie Orchestra's rhythm section for a half-century, captures the spirit of the late guitarist. Unplugging from his amplifier and playing a lot of one-note chords, just like Green, Pizzarelli brings back memories of the unassuming musician who rarely soloed on record or in concert. The leader's supporting cast includes pianist John Bunch (as Count Basie), cornetist Warren Vaché (as Harry "Sweets" Edison), bassist Jay Leonhart (as Walter Page) and drummer Mickey Roker (as Jo Jones). These performances do not attempt to mimic any specific recordings; in fact, a number of the selections were never recorded by the musicians being honored. But with so much experience among the five players present, the music swings effortlessly and one is easily swayed into tapping a foot along with them. To complement the leader's understated guitar, Vaché uses a mute throughout the sessions, Bunch's piano is economical (much like Basie's approach) and the rhythm section is similarly reserved, yet there is never any doubt whether swing is in the air.

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