Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bucky Pizzarelli: Favorite Solos

The 80-year-old, seven-string guitar master Bucky Pizzarelli is a brilliant but underrated player with a flair for chordal melodies, flawless rhythm playing and a driving sense of swing. He and his talented protege Frank Vignola exhibit an easy rapport on toe-tapping swing-era fare in the casual setting of Nola Recording Studios. No frills here; just two guys sitting on chairs, playing their asses off.

While Pizzarelli comps insistently and unerringly on both burners and ballads, Vignola distinguishes himself as the dazzling single-note hotshot of the duo. Pizzarelli even calls his young partner “the American version of Django Reinhardt.” Together they blend beautifully on spirited uptempo numbers like “Limehouse Blues,” “Tangerine” and a frantic rendition of Ellington’s “In a Mellow Tone.” They strike a sublime accord on gorgeous readings of “Smoke Rings,” Reinhardt’s “Nuages” and Glenn Miller’s theme song, “Moonlight Serenade.” Pizzarelli also demonstrates the full range of the seven-string on an unaccompanied version of Richard Rodgers’ “This Nearly Was Mine.”

Originally Published