Howard Alden & Bucky Pizzarelli – guitars. (7 string)
This album is a combination of youth and experience,
Howard Alden is one of the best of the new generation of jazz
guitar players and Bucky Pizzarelli has been around much longer
but never lost his willingness to experiment with the music.
Together they make a very impressive duo, alternating between
soloist and back up in an entirely seamless way.
The album consists of 12 classic tunes from
The Great American SongBook and one original written by the
participants. This suits me fine, I always like to listen to
these great tunes played in new ways and must confess to being
frequently bored by the tuneless sounds that sometimes pass
for original compositions these days.
Howard plays two solos In the Dark by Bix Beiderbecke
and I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, both demonstrate the harmonic
possibilities that the seven-string guitar affords.
In a Mellow Tone gets the album off to a great
start, both men are obviously enjoying playing together and
although their styles are easily identifiable, so is the obvious
empathy between them.
Cherokee is another great work out, both men
shine both as soloist and accompanist and the collective sound
is terrific. Bucky plays the melody at the start of The Very
Thought of You over a powerful bass line from Howard, Three
Little Words is away and swinging from the first bar. Bob Haggart’s
tune, What’s New, is one I never tire of because it lends itself
to so many individual interpretations, it has a strong enough
sequence to enable anyone who is interested to follow it all
the way through. Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz was written when
most people thought jazz in ¾ time was not feasible, it is common
today and the two guitars make it into very interesting fare.
Blues for Emmett was written for the Woody Allen film ‘Sweet
and Lowdown’, it is quite unusual and it stimulates some good
blues performances from both guitarists.
This is certainly a ‘must have’ album for guitarists,
but I recommend it to anyone who, like me, likes melodic swinging