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John Pizzarelli: Rockin’ in Rhythm: A Duke Ellington Tribute

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Perhaps it’s because the album’s strengths are so explicit that its weaknesses seem equally pronounced. Let’s start with the pluses. First, there’s the presence of the Swing Seven horns, arranged by Don Sebesky on seven tracks, including a sizzling “C Jam Blues” and a freewheeling combo of “Cottontail” and “Rockin’ in Rhythm.” Then there’s an intriguingly subdued treatment of “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” that seems lifted from the pages of an F. Scott Fitzgerald jazz-age tale.

There’s also an “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” that suggests bruised reverie rather than battered capitulation. And, showing solo Pizzarelli to superb advantage, there’s a tranquil rendering of “Just Squeeze Me” that echoes Tal Farlow.

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