A Centennial Celebration of Nat King Cole
Friday, April 26, 2019 at 8PM at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts
World-renowned guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has been hailed by the Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” The Toronto Star pegged him as “the genial genius of the guitar,” and the Seattle Times saluted him as “a rare entertainer of the old school.” For this show, he honors the music of the Nat King Cole Trio with a selection of their classics.
Established as one of the prime contemporary interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Pizzarelli has expanded that repertoire by including the music of Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Antônio Carlos Jobim and The Beatles. His themed shows, often performed with his wife Jessica Molaskey, suggest there is no limit to Pizzarelli’s imagination or talent.
Having concentrated on the music of Paul McCartney, Johnny Mercer and Frank Sinatra over the last two years, Pizzarelli has returned to the bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim with his July 28, 2017 Concord Jazz release Sinatra & Jobim @ 50. With co-vocalist Daniel Jobim, grandson of the legendary Brazilian composer, the two explore songs Sinatra and Jobim recorded in 1967 and 1969 as well as add new songs to the mix flavored with the spirit of the classic Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim album.
Pizzarelli’s latest album for Concord is a follow-up to his wildly successful Midnight McCartney, an album The New Yorker said “may be the best collection of McCartney covers ever recorded.”
Since its release in 2015, Pizzarelli has toured North America, South America, Asia and Europe performing shows centered on Frank Sinatra’s centennial, the songs of Johnny Mercer and a McCartney program in which his quartet is joined by strings and a horn section. He also tours on a double bill with pianist Ramsey Lewis and is looking forward to touring a celebration of Nat King Cole’s music for his centennial, which will be in 2019.
While plenty of jazz greats influenced his work – Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry and Slam Stewart, among others – Cole has been Pizzarelli’s hero and foundation over the last 25 years. He devoted two albums to his music, Dear Mr. Cole in 1994 and P.S. Mr. Cole, recorded and released five years later.
In addition to being a bandleader and solo performer, John has been a special guest on recordings for major pop names such as James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Kristin Chenoweth, Tom Wopat, Rickie Lee Jones and Dave Van Ronk, as well as leading jazz artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Ruby Braff, Johnny Frigo, Buddy DeFranco, Harry Allen and, of course, Bucky Pizzarelli. He was featured opposite Donna Summer, Jon Secada and Roberta Flack on the GRAMMY Award-winning CD, Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mr. Rogers in 2005.
John has performed on the country’s most popular national television shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Great Performances and the talk shows of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Regis Philbin and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Also in New York are regular stands at Birdland with his combo where he premiered the Sinatra-Jobim collection in August 2017.