John Pizzarelli

Kisses In The Rain

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    8
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John Pizzarelli takes his nifty little act over to the folks at Telarc, and in fact, little has changed at all; if anything, the act has gotten better. The good news is that Pizzarelli shows continued improvement as a vocalist; the nasal, callow, youthful sound slowly gives way to a less naive, more rhythmically hip style in the manner of early Nat Cole. Pizzarelli was a fine, versatile guitarist from the start, and he continues to astonish at lightning tempos here. His airtight longtime trio (brother Martin Pizzarelli on bass, Ray Kennedy on piano) keeps right up, switching tempos on a dime. As you would expect, the menu consists of mostly Tin Pan Alley/swing standards from way back ("When I Take My Sugar to Tea," "When Lights Are Low," "Don't Be That Way," "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," etc.); the idiom is King Cole Trio all the way, with some Oscar Peterson when Kennedy gets rolling. The only thing missing is Pizzarelli's good-natured kidding around with his band and his audience, which has become one of the main attractions of his live act. This artist is a good match for Telarc's growth as a jazz label -- young faces, old repertoire -- and of course, the Pizzarelli brothers and Kennedy are now the beneficiaries of Telarc's vaunted, depth-charged engineering.

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