Like father like son, or in the case of jazz guitarists Bucky and John Pizzarelli, like father and son.
John Pizzarelli’s musical influences range from Nat “King” Cole to The Beatles, but his most enduring inspiration has been his father Bucky. John once said, “His general love of music has made me appreciate everything I have because of how much he loves it.”
John and Bucky share that love, as well as engaging guitar solos, on their new collaboration Family Fugue. These masters of the Great American Songbook tackle such standards as “All The Things You Are.”
Mutual admiration best describes the father and son team on the Hoagy Carmichael classic, “Stardust.”
For years, Bucky Pizzarelli’s pinpoint rhythm guitar style earned him non-stop session work, television spots, world tours and commercial jingles. Fellow musicians often congregated at the Pizzarelli home in New Jersey to share stories and play music. Naturally, John and his siblings joined the festivities, singing and playing instruments until all hours of the night in their living room.
John learned to play banjo followed by guitar, vocals and trumpet. An avid fan of James Taylor and Billy Joel, he sang pop songs in restaurants and coffeehouses. He was 20 years old when he first performed with Bucky onstage, and 23 when he made his recording debut, “I’m Hip, Please Don’t Tell My Father.”
With the release of Family Fugue, John and Bucky Pizzarelli have now recorded 10 albums as a duo. Joining them at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival are John’s brother Martin on bass and his wife Jessica Molaskey on vocals under the billing, “First Family of Cool.”