Stephen Holden on the Pizzarellis

June 1, 2012

The NYTimes reviewer continues his trend of gushing over the work of John Pizzarelli and his family: “This friendly musical palaver made for an enthralling evening of serious jazz comedy at the quartet’s Tuesday opening-night performance at Café Carlyle, where Bucky sat in as an honored guest….Pure joy reigned.”

Stephen Holden on Jessica Molasky and John Pizzarelli

October 8, 2010

The NYTimes goes over the moon about the couple now appearing at the Carlyle: “It is not hyperbolic to say theirs is a musical match made in heaven; that is where this show will take you.”

By the way, their radio show is one of the best things available on the Internet.

Radio Pizzarelli

June 12, 2010

OK, I’m really late to this party, but I’ve started listening to John Pizzarelli’s radio show, and I think it’s really terrific! 

It’s a great line-up of music, the anecdotes are terrific, and you really feel like a guest in his and Jessica Molaskey’s living room.  Plus, listening to it on the Internet provides access to both the song list for the show and the ability to forward or repeat at will.

Link to show

Nelson Pressley on John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey

June 9, 2010

Dynamic duo: Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli.I wasn’t the only one enthused at the recent outing of Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli at the Kennedy Center.  Here’s a quote from a rare review of a local cabaret performance by the Washington Post: “Molaskey is a Broadway vet currently appearing in the musical drama “Sycamore Trees” at Signature Theatre, and her role on this evening was fitting in, not standing out. (The band is mid-tour — Brazil is behind them, New York and Japan are ahead — and they’re sharp.) Molaskey, a solid singer with a reserved demeanor, and Pizzarelli, whose soft voice gets up and down the scale very well, shared melodies nimbly, and they communed particularly deeply as Molaskey sang Joni Mitchell’s “I Had a King,” accompanied by the low, resonant tones of Pizzarelli’s seven-string.”

Jessica Molaskey & John Pizzarelli at the Kennedy Center

June 5, 2010

Went to see Jessica Molaskey & John Pizzarelli at the Kennedy Center last night.  Wow, what a show !

I’ll link to my official Cabaret Scenes review, but some additional notes about the evening:

  • It is interesting to see how much more casual jazz people are than theater/cabaret folks about things like show structure, patter
  • That said, the couple have a very comfortable way of communicating, probably due to their radio show (which now I’m determined to listen to)
  • Most of the numbers in the show that I saw were familiar from their recordings, which suggests to me that they deliberately programmed a very familiar song line-up due to Molaskey’s involvement with Sycamore Trees.
  • Incidentally, it seems that the performance of Sycamore Trees was cancelled rather than have an understudy go on for Molaskey.  It was nice to see that on their night off, fellow cast members including Tony Yazbek and Marc Kudisch showed up for the show.  It was also nice that she plugged the show from the stage
  •  Now that I’ve seen them, I’m looking forward to reviewing the recordings.  I think for artists like these, occasionally it really makes such a difference to experience them in person to appreciate their recorded work.

Here’s what they sang:

  • The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing / Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast
  • Will You Still Be Mine
  • Small World
  • Haven’t We Met
  • Killing Me Softly / While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • I Want to Be Happy / Sometimes I’m Happy
  • Meditation / Summer, Highland Falls
  • Perdido
  • Just Squeeze Me / Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
  • C Jam Blues
  • Raised on Robbery
  • He Was Too Good to Me / I Had a King
  • Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams / Sunrise 
  • Count Your Blessings / Seasons of Love

A Ton of Ellington

May 14, 2010

A bunch of Ellington-related items have just come across my virtual desk:

The New Yorker has a long think-piece on Ellington (that I admit that I haven’t read yet). 

Sophisticated Ladies has extended its run at Arena Stage to June 6th.   (For those penny-pinchers, discount tickets have been available through Ticketplace and Goldstar.)

Lately I’ve been listening to  John Pizzarelli’s new CD “Rockin’ in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington.”   It’s a jazzy collection that balances both well known Ellington numbers with lesser-known songs.  Pizzarelli performs with his usual verve and charm and is joined by Kurt Elling and wife Jessica Molasky (soon to open in Signature’s The Sycamore Trees) on a Lambert, Hendricks & Ross-inspired version of Perdido.Rockin in Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington

Here are the tracks:

  • In a Mellow Tone
  • East St. Louis Toodle-oo/Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
  • Satin Doll
  • C Jam Blues
  • In My Solitude
  • Just Squeeze Me
  • Perdido
  • All Too Soon
  • I’m Beginning To See The Light
  • Love Scene
  • I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
  • Cottontail/Rockin’ In Rhythm

Next Year’s Barbara Cook’s Spotlight Series

March 5, 2009

The Kennedy Center has made it’s announcement about attractions for next season. 

Here’s the line-up for the Barbara Cook’s Spotlight series:

  • Cheyenne Jackson (Oct. 9)
  • Christine Ebersole (Nov. 14)
  • Karen Akers (Dec. 12)
  • Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell (April 30, 2010)
  • Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli (June 4, 2010)