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Rick Haydon and John Pizzarelli: Just Friends

Rick Haydon might not be as familiar as John Pizzarelli, the son of jazz guitar royalty and a rapidly developing performer who has crossed over into mainstream appeal, but the guitarist has nearly a half-century of chops that show through on Just Friends. For the past 25 years, Haydon has taught at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, after learning his trade from Bucky Pizzarelli (John’s dad), Johnny Smith and Pat Martino.

Both guitarists play Bill Moll seven-string axes, so it would’ve been nice if this album did a better job of distinguishing one from the other. They each get their own channel, but it’s not until the third track, the ballad “Sometime Ago,” that the liner notes point out Pizzarelli’s artificial harmonics and we get a chance to compare and contrast styles.

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