Jazz singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli has never forgotten his musical heroes. One was Nat "King" Cole, whose trio inspired John to record two tribute albums in the 1990s. Another was Frank Sinatra, who, as VOA's Doug Levine tells us, is the focus of John's latest tribute, Dear Mr. Sinatra.
It was only a matter of time before John Pizzarelli got around to making a Frank Sinatra tribute album. John admits that he was waiting for just the right opportunity to record one. Finally, in 2004, his idea became reality when he teamed up with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra to begin work on an album of songs specifically written for/or associated with Sinatra, an album reminiscent of Sinatra's memorable big band years.
The arrangements are first-class, and Sinatra himself wouldn't have wanted them any other way.
As the son of famed swing guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, John caught the jazz bug early, singing and playing guitar by age six. He was a member of his father's band before striking out on his own in the late-1980s. At last count, he's recorded more than 20 solo albums.
A tribute to "Ol' Blue Eyes" was inevitable. Like Sinatra, John Pizzarelli was born and raised an Italian-American in New Jersey. In addition, John has become one of today's top interpreters of the Great American Songbook, performing songs Sinatra often performed from his vast repertoire of standards.
For his album Dear Mr. Sinatra, Pizzarelli recorded what he calls "a staple of Sinatra's repertoire," Cy Coleman's "Witchcraft."