Bucky Pizzarelli was born on January 9, 1926. Ordinarily I don’t devote JAZZ LIVES to birthday celebrations — but it seems right to celebrate Bucky at 89.
I have experienced the several sides of Mr. Pizzarelli: the man who likes to play tender unaccompanied ballads; the great duet player who summons up a whole guitar tradition from its Italian roots to Dick McDonough, Charlie Christian, and his once-partner George Barnes; the swinging rhythm wizard . . . and the showman who is not happy until the audience is standing and hollering. It is this last Bucky (a beloved and infallible rabble-rouser) that I celebrate here, with a version of SING SING SING recorded at the 2014 Atlanta Jazz Party, with the help of Ed Metz, drums; Paul Keller, string bass; Allan Vache, clarinet; John Cocuzzi, vibraphone:
Bucky played often with Benny Goodman, so he knows the routine. I might also mention Gene Krupa (celebrated by Mr. Metz) and the much-missed Jess Stacy and Harry James. But Bucky directs traffic — and we are all glad. Thank you for being so entertaining and so durable. Bucky won’t see this blog . . . but he knows he’s well and truly loved.
May your happiness increase!