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November 2007

The Pizzarelli Boys
Sunday at Pete’s
Challenge Records

Just imagine a cozy, music-filled Sunday at the home of Bucky Pizzarelli’s uncle Peter, in New Jersey. Translate that into an equally cozy recording session with guitarist Bucky and his two boys, guitarist John and bassist Martin, plus family friend Tony Tedesco on drums. That’s the camaraderie heard here: well over an hour of carbon-dated standards played at the pace of a Sunday dinner.

Not much jazz to speak of: Bucky sticks to the melody for the first chorus while John chomps away on rhythm guitar, Martin seldom strays from two-beat even when Bucky improvises the subsequent choruses, and Tedesco maintains polite brush strokes. There are occasional sparks: John takes a fine chordal solo on “Whispering,” weaves around dad with single-string obligatos on the “newest” tune, “You’re My Girl,” and adds a pleasant counterpoint to Bucky’s “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.” Thirteen such oldies, with the tempo never exceeding tepid. But it’s all so pleasant and civilized. The only concession to jazz fans comes on the 14th and final track, the slow blues “Night on Garrett Mountain.” (The significance of the title is meaningful only to Bucky.) Tedesco plays what must be the slowest brushes solo in history. Martin contributes a meaningful, walking solo, no longer inhibited by brother John making like Freddie Green.

Originally published in November 2007
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