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Bucky Pizzarelli & John Pizzarelli: Generations

One of the great jazz guitar records of the ’80s was Swinging Sevens by the father-son team of Bucky and John Pizzarelli. That seven-string encounter, recorded long before John would become the vocal star he is today, was strictly instrumental and imbued with an irrepressible spirit of swing. Nearly 25 years later, father and son reprise their swinging chemistry on Generations, which has 81-year-old Bucky and 47-year-old John on more equal footing. Playing seven-string guitars (each equipped with a low B string), they cover a wide tonal range from low-end walking bass lines to high-end streams of single notes and richly voiced chords.

Some obvious influences are addressed here: Django Reinhardt on the buoyant swing-era vehicle “Avalon,” Charlie Christian on “Rose Room.” Bucky conjures up a touch of Les Paul’s giddy phrasing with his playful slurs and slides on “At Sundown.” They also turn in gorgeous renditions of the ballads “Darn That Dream” and “Early Autumn” and a relaxed, bluesy interpretation of “How Long Has This Been Going On.” John salutes “lap piano” innovator George Van Eps with beautiful solo renditions of “I’ll Remember April” and “The Way You Look Tonight,” while Bucky pulls out his nylon-string acoustic guitar for two solo classical interludes. A good-natured, old-school swing summit between master and pupil.

Originally Published