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Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli Talk 'Radio Deluxe' And Tanglewood 2009

For years, I wrote really bad pop songs. I had them all in a binder and I remember asking Jessica to look at them. She looked at a song told me to move this word over here, switch that phase around, and then the song would work. I told her I wasn't sure, but as soon as she left the room, I made the changes.

Randy: Where did the idea for "Radio Deluxe" come from?

Jessica: John and I had been appearing together for a while.

John: I was working, I think at the Algonquin, and they wanted a "girl singer". We drew up a list of possible singers. All of them would have been great, but Jessica was, obviously, familiar and comfortable on and off stage. Sometimes those lines blur. We, [the trio] can be just about to go on, and my Dad [Bucky Pizzarelli] will say something like "Oh, I forgot to tell you, I accidentally locked your mother out of the house", or something equally as crazy. I thought that there were not a lot of singers that would be comfortable stepping into that family dynamic.

Jessica: On stage, John and I have a comfortable, sometimes funny, report. It isn't necessarily intentional. We were approached by some folks who thought it would translate well into a radio show and it has. We love doing "Radio Deluxe". Radio is such an intimate medium. We get letters and Facebook postings from listeners all over the world. Folks can listen to the show online and there will soon be a podcast that you will be able to download. As a bonus, every week we get to play our friends' records.

John: The focus of our show is "The Great American Songbook". Some folks think that the "Songbook" is in a little box and anything that doesn't fit in that box doesn't belong. I knew that there are a lot of performers who wouldn't necessarily fit in that box, but should be played.

When we started, I certainly didn't think about the show as recording history. But now, when I think that we recorded a show with the great Kenny Rankin, who just died, I think "Wow!" We got Margaret Whiting to sing a bit of "Skylark" when she was on. Everyone was moved to tears. When Liza Minnelli came on, she was so open about her relationship with the legendary Kay Thompson. We don't like to do a lot of prep with our guests on the show, because we want the spontaneity to be real.

Randy: I know that John just got back from a short tour in Japan. How do you deal with each other's tour schedules?

Jessica: Living in New York City certainly helps. There are lots of places for us to work here. There is the Oak Room, Birdland, Feinstein's and the Carlyle. Obviously, our priority is [our daughter] Madeline. If John goes to Japan during the school year, I stay home.

John: For the past few years we have been lucky enough to do a West Coast tour during the summer. That way, we all get to go together.

Randy: Over Labor Day weekend, you will be taping a show at the 2009 Tanglewood
Jazz Festival. Have you recorded a show outside of the "Deluxe Living Room" before?

Jessica: We have. But not like this.

John: We are really excited about the Tanglewood gig. We are planning some really exciting things. We will have guest performers. It is going to be a lot of fun. We aren't going to tell you the details, because we want the spontaneity to be real for the audience as well.

John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey (in her Tanglewood debut) will tape their radio program, "Radio Deluxe," at the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival in Lenox MA on Saturday September 5th.

The “Radio Deluxe” from Tangelwood program will feature special guests Bucky Pizzarelli, Aaron Weinstein, Harry Allen, and Kurt Elling. For more information about the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival visit www.tanglewoodjazzfestival.org.

Radio Deluxe is syndicated can be heard on each week on radio stations across North America and online. For more information, visit
www.johnpizzarelli.com or www.jessicamolaskey.com.

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Randy Rice Randy Rice currently resides in Providence, RI with his husband Aron. His love affair with live performance began in 1988 when he saw Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra on a triple-bill at the Worcester Centrum. Since then, he has attended thousands of live performances in every conceivable genre and venue.