"Play" is also the key word in the sense of the fun, the feeling of sheer joy, that suffuses Pizzarelli's performances. Not that he's not serious: his craft is too polished and his relationship to his material too respectful for him to be flippant. But listening to Pizzarelli, one gets the sense he enjoys playing and singing, enjoys music, and, especially, enjoys life. This quality comes out most purely in Pizzarelli's uncanny ability to scat sing along with his guitar solos. No matter what giddy arabesques he weaves on the guitar, his tenor is right there with him. How the hell does he do it? "I don't know," he replies and laughs again. "The voice follows the guitar is all I can say. I learned it from [bassist] 'Slam' Stewart and [guitarist] George Benson, who was my hero when I was young. But I've been doing it for so long, I don't know how I do it anymore!"
[Originally published in June, 2010.]