The Pizzarelli Boys' Desert Island Dreamers, CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 10/12/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

And now for something completely different…

During his live shows, jazz guitar-great John Pizzarelli has frequently stated (with his tongue slightly planted in cheek) that both FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE! and Count Basie’s ATOMIC BASIE are on his list of “desert island discs”; meaning that those are albums he would want to have with him if he were ever stranded on a desert island. With their latest Arbors Records release, The Pizzarelli Boys (John, Bucky and Martin) attempt to put together their own island-worthy collection of (mostly) instrumental covers.

Based on an album concept by executive producer Paul Hanly, DESERT ISLAND DREAMERS finds the Pizzarellis (and friends) interpreting compositions from Mercer and Mancini to Page and Plant. Spanning 11 tracks, this latest studio effort, for the most part, shies away from the swinging and expeditious fret-work the boys have become known for and instead focuses on relatively tranquil and beautifully executed versions of standards like “By Myself”, “Over The Rainbow”, “Greensleeves” and “Danny Boy”, as well as a few songs from the Sinatra songbook; including “A Man Alone”, “Emily”, “All The Way Home/Moon River” and “Cycles.”

For those fans looking for a little extra “oomph”, the John Pizzarelli penned “Waiting For The Phantom” features a lowdown dirty blues groove and some tasty leads from John, pianist Larry Fuller and violinist Aaron Weinstein. Equally as worthwhile is the group’s take on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven.” A potentially dangerous song to attempt, The Pizzarelli Boys manage to pull it off brilliantly by starting it slow and moody and swinging it with a bit of a Wes Montgomery vibe by the 3 minute mark. It’s an unlikely jazz cover, that is definitely worth a listen.

If this writer had one complaint about DESERT ISLAND DREAMERS, it would be that the album could’ve used a little more guitar and a little less violin. As talented as (25 year-old violinist) Aaron Weinstein is, the album does feature two of the greatest guitarists on the planet. So having the guitar/violin ratio skewed slightly more in the Pizzarelli direction would’ve been nice.

That minor flaw (if you can even call it that) aside, the album is solid; a relaxing and meditative 64 minute display of superior musicianship. The Pizzarelli Boys have yet to disappoint.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: John Pizzarelli’s ROCKIN’ IN RHYTHM

Thanks and keep reading American Blues News and also check out Media Wah Wah for more of this writer’s thoughts and opinions about Movies, Music, TV & More.

Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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