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07/06/14

The Bucky Pizzarelli Trio
Three for All
Chesky Records

Whose line is it anyway? No matter. Whether it’s jazz patriarch Bucky Pizzarelli or his son, fellow seven-string guitar master John, fashioning melodic embellishments and spinning single-note improvisations on Three for All, the level of musicianship is consistently high. What’s more, the same can be said for guitarist Ed Laub’s knowing support, scarcely a surprise given his long association with père Pizzarelli.

Not surprising, too, are the songs chosen for this date. “Body and Soul,” “I Got Rhythm,” “All the Things You Are” and “Avalon” are among the vintage pop classics, while lesser-known tunes, including the Dick McDonough-Carl Kress treat “Stage Fright,” round out the collection. Even the most weathered selections, however, have a fresh allure after Bucky and John get their fingers on them. Strings of choruses dart along, then dovetail, then dart again. Blue notes tweak the melodies, harmonic substitutions add texture and color, tricky contrapuntal passages abound, and frequent surges of rhythmic propulsion make for some exhilarating moments. Offsetting the most vibrant trio performances are some soulful interludes, a dash of melancholy lyricism and the occasional, deftly executed duet, including a Bucky and Ed pairing.

Originally published in June 2014
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