Bryant University welcomes the John Pizzarelli Quartet on Tuesday, October 7th at 7:00 PM. Pizzarelli and company will join the Bryant community through the President’s Cultural Series. During the show John will be playing bass along with brother Martin Pizzarelli, Kevin Kanner on drums, and Konrad Paszkudki on piano.
John began playing the guitar when he was six years old, encouraged by his father who also played. Throughout high school he played with friends and found himself part of several garage bands. At the same time, he was able to explore jazz with his father and perform with many jazz musicians. Pizzarelli recorded My Blue Heaven in 1990 for Chesky Records, which kicked off his exclusive touring in clubs, concert halls, and opening for Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis, and Rosemary Clooney. Soon after, in 1993, John opened for Frank Sinatra’s international tour and performed at his 80th birthday concert at Carnegie Hall, performing I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do with his father.
Many in the Northeast recognize John Pizzarelli from his popular TV commercial for Foxwoods Casino in which he performed The Wonder Of It All. Pizzarelli shares, “people are calling the casino to ask ‘who’s that guy singing?’” Further, he states that if he is to be connected with the commercial so strongly, he is glad it is for a song he enjoys.
Pizzarelli gets his inspiration from Nat “King” Cole, and regards the comparison to his idol the highest of compliments. He asserts that his group is not trying to copy Nat “King” Cole as “his sound was singular and inspired.” However, Pizzarelli does consider himself an extension of his idol into the 21st century. Albums Dear Mr. Cole and P.S. Mr. Cole include music made famous by the famous Nat “King” Cole.
Other albums include After Hours, comprised of torch ballads, Our Love is Here to Stay, a collection of classic swing and originals, and Let’s Share Christmas, a holiday collection. He also released John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, an album which combines Beatles songs with the world of swing and smoky ballads.
In 1999, John Pizzarelli signed with Telarc International, a GRAMMY Award winning label. From there he recorded several successful CDs including Kisses in the Rain, a collection of covers and original songs with a live performance attitude. In his 2002 album, The Rare Delight of You, Pizzarelli teamed up with pianist George Shearing. Together they recorded classics and a few originals all with the classic quintet and vocalist styles.
His most recent album released in 2012, Double Exposure, is a collection of songs by modern pop songwriters framed into traditional jazz arrangements. Pizzarelli received the Ella Fitzgerald Award in 2009 from the Montreal International Jazz Festival, entering a select group of recipients including Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett.
Bryant students can attend the event free of charge. General admission is $20. Smithfield residents may receive two complimentary tickets. Tickets for non-Bryant students and teachers are $10 with a school I.D. Tickets for Bryant alumni are also $10. Reserve tickets by calling (401) 531-6661.