John Pizzarelli’s Trio at The Café Carlyle celebrating Johnny Mercer is the best show in town and not to be missed!
by Linda Amiel Burns
I have been a fan of John Pizzarelli since I first saw him perform at The Algonquin Hotel when he was in his 20’s and knew then that he was going to be a star. John is a superb entertainer, a world-renowned guitarist, great singer, and marvelous storyteller with a fantastic sense of humor. He began playing the guitar at age six, following in the tradition of his legendary father, Bucky who is now age 91. John has recorded over 20 albums as a solo artist and been a sideman on over 40 albums with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, James Taylor and many others.
John will be at the Café Carlyle until May 6 with an all new show celebrating the iconic singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer with his superb “trio” consisting of John on guitar and vocals, Mike Karn on bass and Konrad Paszkudzki on piano.
John began with “Dream,” a song that Mercer wrote both music and lyrics. It was also the name of the show that opened on Broadway in 1997 featuring John along with Margaret Whiting (whose husband Jack Wrangler wrote the book), Leslie Ann Warren, and Jessica Molaskey – who he met during the run and later married. He mentioned that their daughter is now age 19 and in college.
Mercer was a singer and master lyricist who worked with nearly 200 collaborators and responsible for such standards as “Jeepers, Creepers” (Harry Warren), “Skylark” (Jimmy Van Heusen) and “Goody, Goody” (Matty Maineck), all performed in the show. Outstanding was John’s “You” Medley that join these three songs together: “I Thought About You” (Van Heusen), “I Remember You” (Victor Schertzinger) and “I’m With You” (Bobby Troup).
The song selections were well chosen, and included the four Academy Awards that Mercer won with John’s outstanding renditions of “On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” (Harry Warren), “In The Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” (Hoagy Carmichael), “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Moon River” (both with Henry Mancini). The two “story” songs were particularly fun, “Jamboree Jones” about football, and “Bob White” which he called a “Bird Song.”
What made the show particularly special was that John is so comfortable in this elegant intimate space and never have I seen a room and performer so well matched. It reminded me of the days of seeing Bobby Short at the Café Carlyle. The essence of cabaret is to connect with your audience as if you are entertaining in their living room. John made that happen with his amusing patter, fabulous arrangements, terrific vocals and song choices. The 90-minute show just flew by and since John was having so much fun on stage, so did the audience. This show is a wonderful and entertaining evening of music and song and highly recommended.
Photos: David Andrako
For reservations, phone 212 44-1600 or online via Ticketweb.