John Pizzarelli Honors Nat King Cole At 100 With FOR CENTENNIAL REASONS
GHOSTLIGHT DELUXE, an imprint of Ghostlight Records, has announced the release of For Centennial Reasons: 100 Year Salute to Nat King Cole - the new album from the John Pizzarelli TRIO - in physical, digital and streaming formats on Friday, February 8. Following high-profile collaborations with Sir Paul McCartney and Michael McDonald, Pizzarelli returns to his roots to honor his hero, the legendary jazz/pop vocalist and pianist Nat King Cole, whose centennial is being celebrated around the world this year with various concerts, books and recordings. For Centennial Reasons completes an epic trio of Pizzarelli albums saluting Cole, starting with Dear Mr. Cole, which helped put Pizzarelli on the map as an influential jazz guitarist and singer in 1994, and continuing with P.S. Mr. Cole, which cemented his legacy five years later. To pre-order the album, please visit the label HERE.
For Centennial Reasons, featuring John Pizzarelli on guitar and vocals, Mike Karn on double bass, and Konrad Paszkudzki on piano, is produced by John Pizzarelli and c0-produced by Jessica Molaskey. National tour dates - including New York (1/29-2/9), San Francisco (3/3), Philadelphia (3/15-16), Savannah (4/2-3), St. Louis (5/22-26), Washington DC (6/6-9) and more - are available at JohnPizzarelli.com.
"Nat King Cole is the reason why I do what I do," comments Pizzarelli. "The joy that he brought me has never faded and the musicality of his group remains fresh and vibrant to this day. I even got to work with Natalie Cole, Nat's daughter, meet Nat's wife Maria Cole, and become friends with and play with Freddy Cole, Nat's brother. We are lucky to have lived in a world that gave us Nat Cole, the man and the music."
For Centennial Reasons features several songs Pizzarelli hasn't previously recorded, from timeless well-known ballads ("When I Fall in Love," "Body and Soul," "The Very Thought of You") to idiosyncratic jazz classics (Bobby Troup's "I'm Such a Hungry Man," "Save the Bones for Henry Jones").
The album also revisits and updates several numbers that Pizzarelli recorded earlier in his career. "After years of performing live," he explains, "the trio has developed and refined these songs and, over time, figured out what we feel have become the definitive versions. Some arrangements, like 'Route 66,' have gotten much faster. But 'Straighten Up and Fly Right,' which I recorded for my first album way back in 1983, has settled into more of a mellow tone. After all this time, I can slow down and savor it. These songs never get old."
In addition to these original takes on recognized Cole standards, this album introduces two new songs inspired by Cole's spirit. "Nat King Cool," written by Pizzarelli, is a sophisticated homage to the Cole Trio's famous instrumental tracks. With his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey, he penned "A Hundred Years from Now," which craftily uses oft-cited jazz phrases to express the essence of long-term romance.
John Pizzarelli, the world-renowned guitarist and singer, has established himself as a prime contemporary interpreter of the Great American Songbook and beyond, with a repertoire that includes Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and The Beatles. He has been hailed by The Boston Globe for "reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz." The Toronto Star pegged him as "the genial genius of the guitar." And The Seattle Times saluted him as "a rare entertainer of the old school."
Pizzarelli returned to the bossa nova of Antônio Carlos Jobim with his 2017 release Sinatra & Jobim @ 50. With co-vocalist Daniel Jobim, grandson of the legendary Brazilian composer, he explores songs Sinatra and Jobim recorded in the 1960s as well as adding new songs with the flavor of the classic albums.
His wildly successful Midnight McCartney - which The New Yorker said "may be the best collection of McCartney covers ever recorded" - had its origins in McCartney's Grammy Award-winning 2012 album, Kisses on the Bottom. Pizzarelli played guitar on 10 of the album's 14 tracks and backed Sir Paul at an iTunes concert at Capitol Records Studios and the Grammy Awards. Fifteen months after those gigs, McCartney wrote to Pizzarelli to consider recording some of his lesser-known songs in a jazz style. Midnight McCartney hit a new chart high for John, reaching #4 on the Billboard "Jazz Albums" chart.
Pizzarelli's solo recording career started in 1990 with My Blue Heaven on Chesky Records. He played clubs and concert halls on the jazz circuit, opening for such greats as Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis and Rosemary Clooney. In 1993, he was honored to open for Frank Sinatra's international tour and then joined in the celebration for his 80th birthday at Carnegie Hall. After recording albums for RCA devoted to torch ballads (After Hours), vintage swing and bold originals (Our Love Is Here to Stay), holiday songs (Let's Share Christmas) and the Fab Four (John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles), Pizzarelli signed with Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group in 2000. Highlights of his string of successful albums include The Rare Delight of You, with veteran pianist George Shearing, in the tradition of classic quintet-and-vocalist recordings; Live at Birdland, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the John Pizzarelli Trio; Bossa Nova, his first album of Brazilian music, produced by Russ Titelman; Dear Mr. Sinatra, John's tribute to "Ol' Blue Eyes" featuring the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra; his Grammy Award-nominated With a Song in My Heart, celebrating the composer Richard Rodgers; and Rockin' in Rhythm, his first-ever Duke Ellington recording.
In addition to being a bandleader and solo performer, John has been a special guest on recordings for major pop names such as James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Kristin Chenoweth, Rickie Lee Jones and Dave Van Ronk, as well as leading jazz artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown, Johnny Frigo, Ruby Braff, Buddy DeFranco, Harry Allen and, of course, his father Bucky Pizzarelli.
John has performed on national television shows including "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," "Conan," "Great Performances" on PBS, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as the talk shows of Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Regis Philbin. In 1997, Pizzarelli made his Broadway debut in the musical Dream, a revue of Johnny Mercer songs. He led a 40-member live orchestra at Radio City Music Hall in Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way. Pizzarelli performs annual fall engagements at the Café Carlyle with Jessica Molaskey; Time Magazine calls the duo the "Astaire-Rodgers of the cabaret world."
"FOR CENTENNIAL REASONS" - TRACK LISTING
1. Straighten Up and Fly Right
2. A Hundred Years from Now
3. The Very Thought of You
4. (I Would Do) Anything for You
5. I'm Such a Hungry Man
6. It's Only a Paper Moon
7. Body and Soul
8. Nat King Cool
9. When I Fall in Love
10. Save the Bones for Henry Jones ('Cause Henry Don't Eat No Meat)
11. Hit That Jive, Jack!
13. Red Sails in the Sunset
14. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
GHOSTLIGHT DELUXE is an imprint of Ghostlight Records that focuses on classic American standards. Ghostlight has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings - building a library of over 200 records over the past 18 years, featuring some of the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway's brightest stars. Founded by Grammy Award winner Kurt Deutsch, Ghostlight has won Grammy Awards for The Book of Mormon, In the Heights and Beautiful - The Carole King Musical. Recent notable cast recordings include the 2018 Tony winner for Best Musical, The Band's Visit, and the blockbuster viral sensation Be More Chill. Ghostlight has also released solo albums from Patti LuPone, Kelli O'Hara, Sutton Foster, Billy Porter, and more. The label continues to support the new generation of musical theatre composers and has developed extensive relationships with Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChiusa, and David Yazbek, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pasek & Paul, Tom Kitt, Joe Iconis, and Shaina Taub. Ghostlight Records is part of the Arts Music division at Warner Music Group. www.GhostlightRecords.com