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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Let There Be Love

Telarc CD 83518




1. Let There Be Love
2. I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
3. These Foolish Things
4. All I Saw Was You
5. Everything I Have Is Yours
6. Stompin' At The Savoy
7. Follow
8. Our Little Secret
9. You'll Never Know
10. I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)
11. Our Love Rolls On
12. Just One More Chance
13. Lucky Charm
14. Da Vinci's Eyes
15. What Is There To Say


John Pizzarelli - Guitar, vocals

Pat Kennedy - Piano

Martin Pizzarelli - Bass

Tony Tedesco - Brushes on book

Harry Allen - Tenor sax (tracks 4, 5)

Ken Peplowski - Clarinet (track 6)

Bucky Pizzarelli - Guitar (tracks 10, 12)

Dominic Cortese - Accordion (track 14)

Jesse Levy - Cello (track 14)

I admire John Pizzarelli as a great guitarist and a very pleasant singer. But I have mixed feelings about this album, which match the mixture of responses on the Amazon website, which range from "A delightful album!" and "I love it" to "This is jazz lite, run-of-the-mill cocktail lounge fare".

The first problem for me is that John Pizzarelli doesn't play enoiugh guitar on this CD. He delivers a few solos but nowhere near as spectacularly as we know he can play - for example, on the album John Pizzarelli Trio: Live at Birdland (Telarc) or Bucky Pizzarelli with John Pizzarelli: Nirvana (Laserlight). His vocals are agreeable enough but hardly his strongest point. The other problem is that most of the songs are gentle love-songs, which are in danger of leading to blandness.

On the plus side, there are chances to hear John's regular pianist, Ray Kennedy: a real virtuoso whose playing is always a delight. Sample the unexpected turns he takes in his solo on Stompin' at the Savoy, one of the livelier tracks on the album, which also contains some mercurial clarinet from Ken Peplowski.

Guests like Peplowski brighten up some tracks - for example, Harry Allen contributing a good solo to All I Saw Was You. This is one of three songs that John Pizzarelli had a hand in composing, and they make a change from the jazz standards which make up most of the programme. Other unhackneyed songs include Grover Kemble's Follow and Dave Frishberg's Our Love Rolls On. But these cannot dispel the feeling that much of the album is close to "smooth jazz". The CD may be useful for late-night dancing (or something) with your loved one, but the overall feeling is bland rather than challenging. Of course, that may be what John intended. He says in the sleeve-notes: "I wanted this album to feel personal and romantic, as if you had happened upon us playing for friends in our living room late at night". At least the CD, originally released in 2000, is now reissued in Telarc's "Discover Jazz" series, so it should be obtainable at mid-price.

Tony Augarde





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