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June 1999

John Pizzarelli
Meets the Beatles
RCA

The son of jazz guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli is a mean guitarist himself, in addition to being a talented vocalist and song stylist. œWith the resources of a major label behind him and with the assistance of seasoned arranger Don Sebesky, this time out he tackles the material of the Fab Four.

Most of the renditions are utterly fascinating, including a timeless Latin treatment of "Here Comes The Sun," a gorgeously plaintive "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" (with only guitar accompaniment), and a grooving instrumental version of "Eleanor Rigby" that's reminiscent of all the jazz guitarists who have covered pop songs in a tasteful way, including Grant Green, Wes, and George Benson.

Of the couple of tunes that don't work, however, the Sinatraesque vocal/big band treatment of "Can't Buy Me Love" particularly stands out, coming off more as a cynical parody that replaces the tune's original naivete with Ol' Blue Eyes' brand of swaggering '50s bravado. That exception aside, Pizzarelli's meeting with the Beatles is a happy occasion.

Originally published in June 1999
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