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Celebrating jazz guitar master Bucky Pizzarelli's birthday was a sweet tradition at 92Y. In January 2011, they opened the season of Lyrics & Lyricists™-their long-running American Songbook series-with a special 85th birthday celebration featuring Bucky, who in his remarkable career had performed and recorded with some of the most iconic singers in jazz and popular music, and performed more than 30 times on our stage. Bucky's son, guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli, hosted this party of a show, Frank and Tony and Peggy and Me. It was the kind of family affair Bucky loved best, with sons John and bassist Martin, daughter-in-law vocalist Jessica Molaskey, and a cast of jazz and musical theater luminaries and friends performing alongside him. The fare was classic Bucky- "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Honeysuckle Rose" a tender "This Nearly Was Mine" and more. It was a celebration filled with lyricism and swing and love and joy, just like the man it honored. Our hearts go out to Bucky's family, and all who loved him, at his passing.

Legendary jazz guitarist (and 92Y audience favorite) Bucky Pizzarelli performed and recorded with iconic singers from Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaughan and countless others. On January 9 Bucky celebrated his 85th birthday, and that weekend son and daughter-in-law John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey launched the 2011 Lyrics & Lyricists season with a party featuring great songs and inside stories from Bucky's career. The two served as co-artistic directors for the show, performing with vocalists Darius de Haas and Judy Kuhn, and musicians Larry Fuller (piano), Tony Tedesco (drums) and Martin Pizzarelli (bass) of Pizzarelli's quartet. Also on board are jazz virtuosi Ken Peplowski (woodwinds) and Aaron Weinstein (violin).

John Pizzarelli said about his father, "Bucky's career spans an amazingly diverse range of American music from 1930 through today. He was part of the Big Band era with Benny Goodman and the heyday of sophisticated New York singers like Julie London and Peggy Lee. He was connected to the early days of rock 'n roll, playing with Dion and the Belmonts, and with later singer-songwriters like Carly Simon and Janis Ian. And he's integral to the music that's become known as the American Songbook. When you want a certain sound, you want Bucky, and we're thrilled to celebrate not only his birthday, but his musical achievements throughout the years."


Photo credit: Richard Termine

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