Bucky Pizzarelli

Bucky's Bunch

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The always-swinging seven-string guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli had moved away from his

steady career as a studio musician and sideman as he began to record regularly as a leader during the 1970s. These circa-1977 sessions were made for Monmouth Evergreen. Although bassist Slam Stewart and clarinetist Eddie Daniels (who also doubles on flute) are given prominent billing on the album jacket, Pizzarelli's playing is the focal point of most tracks, which range from bossa nova favorites by Jobim, to swing classics by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, to classical fare by Villa-Lobos. Pizzarelli's best work occurs in the unaccompanied takes of "One Life to Live" and "Send in the Clowns." Stewart is added on just two songs, a funky samba-flavored take of "Oh, Lady Be Good" and a rather flat-footed arrangement of Stewart's "The Flat Foot Floogie," both of which feature his vocals and singing in octave unison with his bass. Unfortunately, Frank Owens' electric piano sounds like a cheesy Wurlitzer, and the choice of tunes is occasionally questionable (especially Morris Albert's almost universally despised "Feelings"), but aside from that, the music is enjoyable. Out of print since the demise of the label, there is an outside chance this music might be reissued since the Monmouth Evergreen masters were acquired by George Buck of Jazzology.