Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

Pizzarelli, John (John Paul Pizzarelli, Jr.)

Pizzarelli, John [John Paul Pizzarelli, Jr.], vocalist, guitarist, songwriter; b. Paterson, NJ, 6 April 1960. He was born to Bucky (John Paul, Sr.) Pizzarelli (b. January 6, 1926) and Ruth (Lichult) Pizzarelli (b. December 1, 1930). The third of four children, John's siblings are Anne Pizzarelli Hymes (b. June 7, 1955), Mary Pizzarelli (b. September 10, 1957) and brother, Martin Pizzarelli (b. November 11, 1963).

John was taught to play the four-string tenor banjo by his great-uncles, Pete and Bobby Domenick at the age of six. He began playing a six-string guitar at the age of ten. A self-taught guitarist, John now plays a 7-string Moll guitar handmade by Bill Moll of Springfield, MO. The 7th string is tuned to A' which allows him to play a bass line to his own solos. The son of legendary 7-string guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, John was exposed at a very early age to the great music of the jazz era, from Erroll Garner and Les Paul to Django Reinhardt. He also played trumpet in his high school band. But he sang in rock bands in high school, and admired Billy Joel. One band was called, he says, "Johnny Pick and His Scabs"! Pizzarelli remembers playing paying gigs with his father and then rushing over to New York clubs to join his rock band. At the age of 20, Pizzarelli performed his first professional jazz gig in February of 1980, at New York University's Loeb Student Center with Zoot Sims and Bucky Pizzarelli. This led to a professional association with Bucky that continues to this day. While accompanying his father, John was introduced to the music of Frank Sinatra and Nat "King" Cole and to songwriters such as Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn, George Gershwin, Harry Warren, Harold Arlen and others. But it was Nat Cole's style and songbook, which influenced John the most.

John developed his first trio with Ken Levinsky on piano and Martin Pizzarelli on bass. Then in 1993, John met pianist Ray Kennedy, a former St. Louisian, and along with double-bassist brother, Martin Pizzarelli, the John Pizzarelli Trio was formed. This same year they received the honor of opening for Frank Sinatra on touring dates throughout the United States and Europe. From 1992 through 2000 Mr. Pizzarelli had the opportunity to tour and record with legendary vocalist, Rosemary Clooney. Pizzarelli's eclectic -recording career has teamed him with artists such as James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Tom Wopat, Rikki Lee Jones, George Shearing, Ray Brown, Dave Von Ronk, Johnny Frigo, Stephane Grappelli and Harry Allen among others. The Pizzarelli trio regularly performs with symphonies and pop orchestras from the New York Pops to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Some concerts he's played include Frank Sinatra's 80th Birthday Party, Carnegie Hall, George Shearing's 80th Birthday Party, Carnegie Hall, A Tribute to Nat Cole, Carnegie Hall and A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Carnegie Hall.

John has two children, John Paul Pizzarelli III (b. 9/8/91; he likes to play drums) and Madeleine Elizabeth Pizzarelli (b. 2/7/98) and is married to actress/vocalist, Jessica Molaskey (1/9/59). They make their home in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. When John isn't on the road playing at concert halls and jazz festivals, he can often be found creating gourmet, homemade-Italian pastas and sauces for family and friends.

Recordings:
I'm Hip - Don't Tell My Father (1983); Hit That Jive Jack (1985); Sing! Sing! Sing! (1987); Best of John Pizzarelli (1987); My Blue Heaven (1990); All of Me (1991); Naturally (1992);
New Standards (1993); Dear Mr. Cole (1994); After Hours (1995); One Night with You (1996); Let's Share Christmas (1996); Our Love is Here to Stay (1997);
John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles (1999); PS Mr. Cole (1999); Contrasts (with Bucky Pizzarelli) (1999); Brazil (with Rosemary Clooney) (2000); Kisses in the Rain (2000); Two Family House (2000); Let There Be Love (2001); Twogether (with Bucky Pizzarelli) (2001); John Pizzarelli and the George Shearing Quintet: The Rare Delight of You (2002);
Live at Birdland - 10th Anniversary of the John Pizzarelli Trio (2003); Bossa Nova (2004)
As sideperson:
Bucky Pizzarelli: Two Times Seven = Pizzarelli (1980), Swinging Sevens (1987); Johnny Frigo: Live from Studio A in New York City (1989); Rosemary Clooney: Do You Miss New York? (1993); Bucky Pizzarelli: Live at the Vineyard (1996); Natalie Cole: Stardust (1996); Bucky Pizzarelli: Solos & Duets (1996); Harry Allen: Harry Allen Meets the John Pizzarelli Trio (1999);
Rikki Lee Jones: It's Like This (2000); Stephane Grappelli, Live at the Blue Note (2000); Tom Wopat: The Still of the Night (2000); Ray Kennedy: The Sound of St. Louis (2000);
Bucky Pizzarelli: Passionate Guitars (2001); Harry Allen: Christmas in Swingtime (2001); Ray Kennedy: I Am Beginning to See the Light (2001); Jessica Molaskey: Pentimento (2002);
Ray Brown: Some of My Best Friends Are Guitarists (2002); James Taylor: October Road (2002); Ray Kennedy, Bucky Pizzarelli: Swing Kings (2002);
Ruby Braff with the John Pizzarelli Trio: Relaxing at the Penthouse, (2002); Erich Kunzel/ Cincinnati Pops Orchestra: Got Swing? (2003); Monty Alexander: My America (2003);
Jessica Molaskey: A Good Day (2003); Buddy DeFranco: Cookin' The Books (2004)
As producer:
Ray Kennedy: I Am Beginning to See the Light (2001); Jessica Molaskey: Pentimento (2002)
Videos:
John Pizzarelli - Live in Montreal - The Big Band, RCA (1992); John Pizzarelli - Jazz Guitar Virtuoso Video, Mel Bay Publications (1998)
Films:
Ready to Wear: 1994; Robert Altman, Director; Forget Paris: 1995; Billy Crystal, Director; The Out of Towners: 1999, Sam Weisman, Director; Two Family House : 2000, Raymond De Felitta, Director
Television broadcasts:
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Late Night with Conan O'Brien; Late Show with David Letterman; Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon;
Mark Twain Prize Award - A Tribute to Bob Newhart, PBS; NBC's Today Show; CBS Sunday Morning; Melrose Place; The Rosie O'Donnell Show; "Live " with Regis and Kathy Lee;
CBS This Morning; CNN; Sesame Street;
Radio broadcasts:
"New York Tonight" WNEW-AM 1130 Jonathan Schwartz featuring Tony Monte and John Pizzarelli; "Fresh Air with Host Terry Gross", National Public Radio, 10/97, 11/98, 5/99, 7/00, 12/01&1/02, 9/11/02; "The Morning Meeting" with Charlie Brennan, KMOX-AM 1120, 1997 to present
Theater:
On Broadway: Dream - The Music of Johnny Mercer, 1997, Wayne Cilento, Director.

Commercial jingle work:
Country Time Lemonade. "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"; Ford Explorer, "You Say Potato"; Foxwoods Casino, "The Wonder of it All"; VISA, "I Will Wait for You", featuring Steve Young and Jerry Rice; KMOX 1120AM, "Oscar Night"

Bibliography:
Five Questions With John Pizzarelli  By MARY CAMPBELL, Associated Press, May 19, 1999

Websites:
Interview: http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=732
http://pizzarellifanpage.com (interviews, biography, etc.)

Contact information:
http://www.johnpizzarelli.com/

Back to Top