John Pizzarelli, Stage & Screen Review
by Constance Tucker
John Pizzarelli is back with another jazz gem called Stage & Screen. Pizzarelli(7-string guitar, vocals) is joined by Isaiah J. Thompson on piano and Michael Karn on bass. Stage & Screen expands Pizzarelli’s regular song inspiration to include classic songs from Broadway musicals and Hollywood films. “In thinking about some of the songs that I really love to play, it struck me how many of them come from either a Broadway show or a movie,” Pizzarelli explains. “An idea like Stage & Screen frees me to explore a wide range of songwriters and eras, and it continues to offer a wealth of new possibilities.”
“I Love Betsy” from Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas, a stage musical based on the 1992 film, finds Pizzarelli’s voice front and center. His tone is clear and light, very guitar-like in nature really, and his sense of time is lovely. The trio swings in that classic style of the thirties. Pizzarelli’s scatting is always an adventure; fluid, well-articulated, and swinging.
Pizzarelli shines with a pair of songs from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette “I Want To Be Happy” and “Tea For Two.” The latter shows his vocal command and personality to perfection. He understands how to shape a melody and pull out the charm. With Pizzarelli, you always get class, nothing overdone or embellished beyond recognition. Instead, you get beautiful melodies sung with passion and precision.
John Pizzarelli brings yet another beautiful project to life for us to enjoy. His singing is stylish as ever, and the repertoire is well thought out. Stage & Screen checks all the boxes for a beautiful jazz vocal album.
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