John Pizzarelli is a world renowned guitarist and singer who has been hailed as “the genial genius of the guitar” as well as one of “the hottest jazz acts around.” The Arts and Cultural Events Council is pleased to present the John Pizzarelli Jazz Quartet, featuring Paul Keller on double-bass, drummer Keven Kanner and Konrad Paszkudzki on piano.
Pizzarelli started playing guitar at age six, following in the tradition of his father, Bucky Pizzarelli. He turned to jazz in his late teens after playing in rock bands, and he received an education playing with his father and many jazz greats who would influence his work: Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry and Slam Stewart, among others.
His solo recording career started in 1990 with My Blue Heaven on Chesky Records. He played clubs and concert halls on the jazz circuit, opening for such greats as Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis and Rosemary Clooney. In 1993, he was honored to open for Frank Sinatra’s international tour and then joined in the celebration for his 80th birthday at Carnegie Hall, bringing down the house singing “I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do” with his father accompanying him.
Over his career, Pizzarelli has recorded more than 40 albums of music, either as the leader or in tandem with other performers. In late May 2014, Sir Paul McCartney wrote to Pizzarelli: “I got an idea in my head. It might be interesting for you to do a few of my songs that are lesser known than some of the others. I realize this may be a little immodest, if not pushy.” McCartney suggested the album might be titled “Midnight McCartney” and continued, “as I said, this may tickle your fancy or you may decide these are the ramblings of a deranged composer with too much time on his hands.”
Pizzarelli’s fancy was indeed tickled, and in September 2015, his latest recording, “Midnight McCartney” was released to critical acclaim.
A radio personality who got his start in the medium in 1984, Pizzarelli is co-host, alongside his wife, Jessica Molaskey, of Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli. Heard on more than 40 radio stations, the syndicated radio show brings warmth, humor and that long-lost “live” feel back to radio. The show takes place in their “deluxe living room high atop Lexington Avenue,” and the conversations are relaxed, candid and off-the-cuff as is the music. The show is also available globally as a podcast at www.johnpizzarelli.com and via iTunes.