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Friday, Jan. 4, 2008
By RIKA TAKENAKA
New Jersey's John Pizzarelli is the complete package, not to mention a chip off the old block.
Not only does he play seven-stringed guitar — like his still-active father Bucky Pizzarelli — but the 47-year-old songwriter and band leader has also starred in a Johhny Mercer musical revue on Broadway and is a raconteur who every week with his actress wife Jessica Molaskey hosts the nationally syndicated show, Radio Deluxe. Guests have included Liza Minnelli and Tony Bennett.
An impressive resume for sure, but it's on stage where Pizzarelli made his name and where his soft, tender voice can be heard interpreting late-night ballads and standards by the likes of Nat King Cole, Sammy Cahn, James Van Heusen and the Gershwin brothers, some of which he is likely to dig out on his forthcoming Japan tour.
When he's not dipping into the 1930s American songbook, Pizzarelli turns his attentions to other genres. On 1998's "Meets The Beatles," he covered the Fab Four's songs in swinging style, giving "Can't Buy Me Love" the Woody Herman treatment and performing "Here Comes The Sun" in the style of Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim. He also featured the works of Brazilian composer Jobim, among others, on his 2004 album "Bossa Nova."
Having released more than 20 albums since his debut, on his latest, "Dear Mr. Sinatra," Pizzarelli interprets classics as well as rarely recorded songs by Sinatra such as "Ring-A-Ding Ding" and "The Last Dance," with the help of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
John Pizzarelli plays Blue Note Tokyo, Jan. 13-14 (6:30 and 9 p.m.) and Jan. 15-16 (7 and 9:30 p.m.); tickets are ¥8,400 (tel.  5485-0088); Motion Blue Yokohama, Jan. 18-19 (6:30 and 9:30 p.m.); ¥7,350 (tel.  226-1919).