By Sandi Durell
Back in their comfy room at the Café Carlyle for the twelfth season, the always adorable and adoring husband-wife team of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey bring their smooth, cool jazz stylings and playful patter chatter to a loving audience. They are charming!
After twenty years of marriage, they meld and blend, not only musically, but with little witticisms and a wry sense of humor that is endearing and fun to watch and hear. Opening with the show title song (Stephen Sondheim), sets the tone as John brings his mellow sounding voice and excellent guitar genius together with Jessica’s fine vocals to a series of couple songs that include “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (George & Ira Gershwin), “A Fine Romance” (Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields), along with a beautiful bossa version of “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” (Robert Wright, George Forest Cloudburst).
Swinging sardonic humor is tops on Dave & Samantha Frishberg’s “Blizzard of Lies” but one of the highlights is their own ‘deconstructed’ version of Jon Hendricks and Stephen Sondheim’s “Not Getting Married Today” – Jessica spits those lyrics out at the speed of light. . . they own this one! (and with Sondheim’s blessing)
The blending of John’s scat replicating guitar fingering is stunning to hear on several tunes – brilliance prevails.
This was a great opportunity for Jessica to introduce her latest album on Ghostlight Records “Portraits of Joni” i.e., “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” (Joni Mitchell, Charles Mingus) and for John to talk about his love of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sinatra with Michael Franks’s “Antonio’s Song” (on his latest Concord Jazz release Sinatra and Jobim @ 50).
The fine nimble fingered Konrad Paszkudski on piano and Mike Karn on bass was ever present on their solo turns throughout the evening.
Leave ‘em laughing is always a good idea so as Jessica took her final bow, John remained on stage with the encore of encores “I Like Jersey Best” where not only are the lyrics funny, but interpreting them through the voices of famous performers is a hoot . . . from Paul Simon to Don McLean, to the Beach Boys and Billie Holiday. . . why even Lou Rawls, Bobby Darin and the Bee Gees got into the act!
Photos: David Andrako
Don’t miss the fall pilgrimage of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey thru November 18 at the Café Carlyle – 35 East 76 Street – 212 744 1600 or visit Ticketweb.