John Pizzarelli- A Centennial Celebration of Nat King Cole
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.”
Established as one of the prime contemporary interpreters of the Great American Songbook, John 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.
And now, John Pizzarelli turns his considerable talent to the timeless music of Nat King Cole. 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.
A smooth-voiced balladeer, Nat King Cole’s numerous hit singles in the 1940s and 1950s put him in an elite group of singers. He sold millions of records throughout the world and even had his own television show on NBC. His long-time collaborator and arranger was Nelson Riddle.
“His sound was singular and inspired,” says Pizzarelli, who started playing guitar at age six, following in the tradition of his father Bucky. “I’ve always said we’re an extension, a 21st-century version of what his group was.” He devoted two albums to Nat King Cole’s 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 Pizzarelli 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 America’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.