Picks and Pans Review: Kisses in the Rain

John Pizzarelli (Telarc Jazz)

From the first few bars of its rollicking opener, “From Monday On” (cowritten by Bing Crosby), it’s clear that jazzman John Pizzarelli aims here to capture the spontaneity and sophistication of the nightclubs his trio frequently plays. Armed with selections from the Great American Songbook (Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen et al) as well as some tasty originals (such as “A Lifetime or Two,” cowritten by Pizzarelli and his wife, Jessica Molaskey), this drummerless trio isn’t afraid to tinker with the pop standards they hold dear. On “I Got Rhythm,” Pizzarelli (backed by his brother Martin on bass and the rocking Ray Kennedy on piano) scat-sings while improvising a lightning-quick guitar solo. And when it’s time to mellow out, Pizzarelli’s delicate, haunting vocal on “I’m in the Mood for Love” gives that Jimmy McHugh-Dorothy Fields ballad its melancholy due. For pure pop sweetness, Pizzarelli serves up Nat King Cole’s delicious ’40s hit “When I Take My Sugar to Tea.”

Bottom Line: Timeless Kisses

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