John Pizzarelli – John Pizzarelli meets The Beatles (1998)

FrontCover1Beatles fans love to explain that the key to the successful partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was their contrasting songwriting personalities — Lennon was the tongue in cheek sardonic wit, McCartney the earnest balladeer. On John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, a sharply conceived tribute which sets the duo’s classics in a jazz trio with big-band arrangements, the singer/guitarist hits the mark more often when he’s taking on the Lennon persona. He approaches “Cant’ Buy Me Love,” “When I’m 64,” and “Get Back” with a playful wink, jumping off his speedy melody lines and the rising brass sections for extended improvisational tradeoffs with pianist Ray Kennedy, and adding colorful touches like scatting and even ad libbing his own lyrical verses based on the originals. Likewise, he attacks the all-instrumental “Eleanor Rigby” with a jumpy, swinging aggression. Pizzarelli, however, becomes overly schmaltzy in presenting ballads like “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Long and Winding Road” too seriously, with maudlin, straightforward arrangements that grind the party to a halt. The one exception is the more percussive “Oh Darling,” where his intense vocal helps the tune rise above the hotel lounge mentality. (by Jonathan Widran)

John Pizarelli

This is probably the most talked about CD I have made. The idea was to place the songs into a different time as if someone else had performed them first. For instance, “Can’t Buy Me Love” was a Woody Herman tune (hence, the Woodchopper’s Ball references), “Things We Said Today” was in the Moondance groove, “Here Comes The Sun” was a Jobim/Getz tribute, and so on. It is really a CD I am proud of, from Don Sebesky’s great arrangements (once again) to the terrific performances from the string players, big band members, soloists and trio. This CD was also #1 on the Swing Journal jazz charts in Japan and was released with two different songs in Canada. The Canadian version features the songs “You Can’t Do That” and “Got To Get You Into My Life.” They were nixed from the American release in favor of “Eleanor Rigby” and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.” We also did a terrific concert for Canadian TV of the Beatle CD live entitled John Pizzarelli Chante Les Beatles. It has run on the BET on Jazz channel and features a Canadian big band and strings conducted by Don Sebesky. (John Pizzarelli)

Beatles fans love to explain that one key to the successful partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was their contrasting songwriting personalities: Lennon was the tongue-in-cheek, sardonic wit, McCartney, the earnest balladeer. On john pizzarelli’s John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles (RCA Victor), a well-conceived tribute that sets the duo’s classics in jazz-trio and big-band arrangements, the singer/guitarist hits the mark most often when taking on McCartney’s tunes. He approaches “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “When I’m 64,” and “Get Back” with a playful wink, jumping off his speedy melody lines and the rising brass sections for extended improvisational tradeoffs with pianist Ray Kennedy. Pizzarelli adds colorful touches like scatting and even ad-libs his own lyrical verses based on the originals. Likewise, he treats an instrumental version of “Eleanor Rigby” with an aggressive sense of swing. And his intense vocal on a percussive “Oh, Darling” helps the tune rise above mere cover-band fare. However, when Pizzarelli presents ballads like “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Long and Winding Road” with maudlin arrangements, he pretty well grinds the party to a halt. (by Jazziz Maganzine, 2000)
John Pizarelli2

Personnel:
Harry Allen (saxophone)
Sanford Allen (violin)
Wayne Andre (trombone)
Kenny Berger (saxophone)
Joseph Bongiorno (bass)
Alfred Brown (violin)
Avril Brown (violin)
Kenneth Burward-Hoy (viola)
Stephanie Cummins (cello)
Rick Dolan (violin)
Max Ellen (violin)
Sammy Figueroa (percussion)
Barry Finclair (violin)
Andy Fusco  (saxophone)
Peter Gordon (french horn)
Adam Grabois (cello)
Juliet Haffner (viola)
Evan Johnson (violin)
Karen Karlsrud (violin)
Tony Kadleck (trumpet)
Gary Keller (saxophone)
Chungsun Kim (cello)
Jeanne LeBlanc (cello)
Jesse Levy (cello)
Lisa Matricardi (violin)
Melissa Meel (cello)
John Miller (bass)
John Mosca (trombone)
Laura Oatts (violin)
Jim O’Connor (rrumpet)
Ken Peplowski (clarinet)
Joel Pitchon (violin)
John Pizzarelli (guitar, vocals)
Martin Pizzarelli (bass)
Jim Pugh (trombone)
Allen Ralph (trombone)
Barry Ries (trumpet)
Maxine Roach (viola)
Douglas Romoff (bass)
Laura Seaton (violin)
Don Sebesky  (accordion, flute)
Richard Sortomme (violin)
Mitsue Takayama (viola)
Tony Tedesco (drums)
Liuh-Wen Ting (viola)
Leslie Tomkins (viola)
Ron Tooley (trumpet)
Belinda Whitney-Barratt (violin)
Chuck Wilson (saxophone)
Xin Zhao (violin)

Orchestra conducted by Don Sebesky

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Tracklist:
01. Can’t Buy Me Love 3.37
02. I’ve Just Seen A Face 2.49
03. Here Comes The Sun 5.05
04. Things We Said Today 4.16
05. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away 3.26
06. Eleanor Rigby 5.03
07. And I Love Her 3.57
08. When I’m 64 2.46
09. Oh Darling 4.04
10. Get Back 4.03
11. Long And Winding Road 3.46
12. For No One 3.11

All songw written by John Lennon + Paul McCartney, except 03. which was written by George Harrison

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