The Bucky Pizzarelli Trio: Three For All
Featuring John Pizzarelli and Ed Laub
2014 Chesky Records, Inc.
Bucky Pizzarelli on Guitar
John Pizzarelli on Guitar
Ed Laub on Guitar
Press: Chesky Records
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2014
This CD is a total delight, deliciously melodic, sumptuously serene, often dazzling and rambunctious, and completely straightforward. Guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli began his career in 1944 with Vaughn Monroe. Later, he was in Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show Band and, in his career, performed with Les Paul, Stephane Grappelli, and Benny Goodman. Bucky has teamed up for this recording with his son, John Pizzarelli, a renowned guitarist, and Ed Laub, longtime collaborator and friend, for Three For All. In fact these three artists on guitar wrote a title tune, reviewed below. It was almost impossible to choose four tracks, as each was either mellow and wistful, sparkling and swinging, or just fascinating in its nuanced trio interpretations. With no drums, bass, or piano, the pure elegance of the guitars is showcased and celebrated with tantalizing tonalities.
#5 – Stompin’ at the Savoy – Composed by E. Sampson/B. Goodman/C. Webb. It’s almost hard to sit still for this romping, engaging standard, with all three guitarists opening the track in unison, before one (I assume Bucky) takes the theme and the others play bristling chords. At one point a string vibrates for multiple tones all on one note, absolutely astounding. This track could be a score for a ballroom duo.
#7 – Stage Fright – Composed by D. McDonough/C. Kress. I had heard this song many times, but never like this trio presented it. Bucky, John, and Ed made it come alive, with an enchanting, intertwining melody, then a slow, sensitive interlude, followed by a brisk string frolic. This tune is magnetic, as each note in the interlude is like a yearning heart string.
#12 – Three For All – Composed by B. Pizzarelli/J. Pizzarelli/E. Laub. This original title tune, put together by this trio, is a tribute to their collective professionalism and vibrancy. There’s lots of improvisational accompaniment with a compelling theme, that sounds as if each musician has a solo spotlight. It’s certainly a memorable melody, one that may beg for words in the future. It ends with a vibrating, three-guitar flash. The piece evokes the styling of Django Reinhardt’s repertoire.
#13 – I Got Rhythm – Composed by G. Gershwin/I. Gershwin. In the past years, I’ve reviewed this tune multiple times in Balanchine’s ballet, Who Cares?. But, here, with these three great guitarists, I Got Rhythm took on new imagery. As pure listening entertainment, it was ravishing and resplendent, with the solo lead performing on aerodynamic speed. The two accompanists merged with the lead about two-thirds into the track, for a photo finish, with strings essentially going wild, all blended in harmonized chords. Kudos to all.