Edward Decker's Dear Mr. Pizzarelli is his solo guitar tribute to Bucky Pizzarelli, with whom he studied for a time after being awarded an NEA grant. Like his mentor, Decker plays a George Van Eps model seven-string electric guitar, which gives him an extra string with which to add a bassline. Decker, who works regularly with the Tony DeSare Trio, shows how much he absorbed from Pizzarelli (a gifted studio musician who played on all kinds of dates for decades before focusing more heavily on jazz late in his career). Most of this session focuses on the kinds of songs that Pizzarelli is likely to have recorded or performed at some point, except for a medley of Tony DeSare compositions ("How I Will Say I Love You" and "Marry Me"). Decker is quite content playing most of the ballads slowly, allowing for plenty of space between chords to give the music breathing room. Highlights include the romantic medley of two tunes by Rodgers & Hart ("Blue Room" and "There's a Small Hotel"), an elegant treatment of Henry Mancini's "Two for the Road," and a whispering rendition of "Laura." There is little doubt that Bucky Pizzarelli was greatly honored by his former student's superb playing throughout this enjoyable CD.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden