New Jersey Jazz Society

Jazzfest 2010
Statesmen of Jazz

For the final set, Joe Lang introduced, with thanks to Arbors Records’s Mat Domber who was instrumental in getting this group to us, The Statesmen of Jazz: “the two John Pizzarellis, Junior and Senior” (more commonly known as Bucky); Martin Pizzarelli on bass; saxman Harry Allen — “Harry Pizzarelli.” John P: “We affectionately call this the Pizzarelli Party.” The first number, “Lady be Good,” opened with a big piano intro by Larry Fuller. Harry Allen, then Aaron Weinstein on violin, took turns. Tony Tedesco’s drumming underpinned the proceedings. Paterfamilias Bucky looked happy as a clam, chugging away. John supplied a solo and his special brand of vocalese. To say this aggregation has a rapport is understating it. John announced that Bucky will be 85 in January, and that he’s been married to “Saint Ruth” for 56 years. He mentioned that Bucky was “working without a gallbladder this evening” so he’d be known as “Les Gall.” The group worked a nice shuffle on “Strollin’ Along,” and featured a tune penned by Harry and Aaron called “Joe and Zoot” dedicated to Venuti and Sims. Then Bucky was alone for a quietly romantic blending of “Easy to Remember” and “This Nearly Was Mine.” The group picked up the pace with “Tangerine,” Bucky and John exchanging rhythmic passages perfectly attuned to each other via both nature and nurture, no doubt. Oregonian Rebecca Kilgore’s smooth vocals and honest delivery brought home “The Talk of the Town,” followed by “How About You?” “I’m delighted to share the stage with these guys. Where’s the pizza?” John inquires about tempo, Rebecca replies, “How do you like it?” He demurs: “I’m here to serve...” she says “Wherever,” and off they go with “’Deed I Do” with the whole ensemble. Our only regret is that she didn’t come back for a few more songs. Mirthful Pizzarelli anecdotes continued, and John wowed with impersonations of you-name-’em celebs (Beach Boys, B. Dylan, B. Holiday, H. Chapin, J. Cash, to convey a fraction of them) singing his signature song “I Like Jersey Best.” Their set wrapped up with a couple of burners, and an encore was demanded by the crowd, still wanting more after 10 full hours of music, music, music.

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Photos © Tony Mottola

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