Picks and Pans Review: New Standards

UPDATED 08/15/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/15/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

John Pizzarelli

Try, just try keeping your seat when singer-guitarist Pizzarelli lets loose—backed by big-band bonhomie—with a galvanic "Fools Fall in Love." You'll fall in love on the spot. That goes just about double for Pizzarelli's propulsive cover of Rosemary Clooney's signature "Come on-a My House." Here is a Harry Connick Jr. without pretensions. What Harry can do on piano, John can do on guitar (as befits the son of Bucky). What Connick can do as a composer, Pizzarelli can do with equal flair. Witness the upbeat little charmer "I'm Your Guy": "I juggled fire in the carny/ Played some golf with Jack and Arnie/ Even wrote some songs for Barney." He displays a more tender finesse with his cover of "Beautiful Maria of My Soul," from the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings, and seems to know just how to work within the limitations of his slightly twangy, pleasantly nasal voice. Though the album flattens out toward the end—Pizzarelli lacks the emotional punch Tony Bennett brought to "Why Do People Fall in Love"—it's rescued by an infectiously swinging "Oh How My Heart Beats for You" with a Les Paullaced arrangement. Play it again (and again), Pizzarelli. (Novus/RCA)

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