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Bucky Pizzarelli/John Pizzarelli: Passion Guitars

Recorded in 1997, this schmaltzy project (subtitled “Easy Listening, Lite Jazz”) features the John Pizzarelli trio augmented by the presence of father Bucky Pizzarelli and fellow guitarist Gene Bertoncini.

On the surface it seems that teaming three highly experienced and accomplished guitarists guarantees a high level of artistry. While that might normally be true, here the saccharine arrangements (“Besame Mucho,” “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Orchids in the Moonlight”), plethora of stock licks, and intentionally soothing tempos and harmonies-rarely exploited by any of these three in a typically tasteful playing situation-result in music that is sickeningly sweet and syrupy.

Where to affix blame for allowing such a project to exist? Other than the musicians themselves, the finger wants to point to the company (whose other titles include How to Strip for Your Lover and How to Belly Dance for Your Lover) and/or producer Sonny Lester.

Originally Published