So Hard to Forget

So Hard to Forget

by Bucky PizzarelliBucky Pizzarelli


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Several well-known jazz musicians have used string quartets to complement their performances over the decades, and many have come up with resultant syrupy mixes drowning individuality via over-production. Thankfully, this collaboration between legitimate jazz string players and legendary veteran guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli does not suffer from sucrose saturation, as these sessions were conceived and played with large amounts of taste, class, and substance. Cellist Jesse Levy, violist Valerie Levy, and violinists Aaron Weinstein and Sara Caswell all are very capable of swinging this program of standards along quite well, while Pizzarelli's seven-string amplified or acoustic guitar has more than enough fuel to keep the songs moving along in a interesting manner without forcing or dragging them into a saccharine morass. Bassist Jerry Bruno, a longtime collaborator of Pizzarelli, is added to five cuts, while the repertoire includes American popular songs, works of Duke Ellington, legitimate Spanish classical works, and the music of George M. Smith. This is Pizzarelli's seventh recording for the Arbors label as a leader, and his 30th project for them overall, proof of his endurance and continuing interest in making good music consistently through the decades of his golden years. The technique of counterpoint between Pizzarelli and the strings crops up on the fun, '30s hot jazz-flavored Smith composition "Test Pilot," while the other Smith number, "Slow Burning," has the leader and Bruno conversing with the strings replying in slight refrains. Employing mainly the solo format, Pizzarelli's take of "It's Easy to Remember" is a ballad, deepened by the late-arriving strings sadly agreeing that separation is inevitable, while the short closer, "Last Night When We Were Young," has the guitarist pulling out harmonic chord flourishes of pensive introspection. Duke Ellington's music is lovingly interpreted in a 12-minute medley where Pizzarelli bends bluesy notes and chords, and does a polite version of "Prelude to a Kiss" alongside second guitarist Frank Vignola. Federico Torroba's "Sonatina" in two movements is a classical bolero waltz, with a changed up George Gershwin Americana-styled second part, while "Tarantella Opus 87a" is a lithe Italian chamber piece in 2/4 instead of the typical 6/8 time. Bouncy, upbeat, and happy, "Wabash One More Time" is the best swinger, while Pizzarelli's "Boots Blues" is a straightforward, easygoing tune, with help from Vignola and solos by both the exceptional violinists. This CD is a pleasant listening experience that yields more upon additional playings, best heard with significant others or ideally at dinner. It is also another fine effort in the long and illustrious career of one of the truly great jazz guitarists of all time.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/2009
Label: Arbors Records
UPC: 0780941137026
catalogNumber: 19370
Rank: 108538

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bucky Pizzarelli   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Soloist,Guitar (7 String Acoustic)
Jerry Bruno   Bass
Jesse Levy   Cello,Soloist
Dick Lieb   Conductor
Martin Pizzarelli   Bass
Frank Vignola   Guitar,Soloist
Sara Caswell   Violin,Soloist
Aaron Weinstein   Violin,Soloist
Jessy Levy   Cello
Valerie Levy   Cello,Viola

Technical Credits

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco   Composer
Bucky Pizzarelli   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Irving Mills   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Jim Czak   Engineer
Duke Ellington   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Manny Kurtz   Composer
Dick Lieb   Arranger,Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
David Raksin   Composer
Bob Russell   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Max Wilk   Liner Notes,Author
Mat Domber   Executive Producer
Rachel Domber   Executive Producer
Irving Gordon   Composer
Robert Mellin   Composer
Guy Wood   Composer
Luke Melton   Cover Design
Russ Kassof   Arranger

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