By Sandi Durell
I’ve always had a soft spot for this husband and wife duo but when John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey thought hard and fast about titling this new show – The Arc of a Love Affair – it was a brilliant choice. Truly, this is, by far, a magical arc that emphasizes their exceptional musical talents, together and individually, and speaks to their inner feelings and emotions about the current socio-political climate, as well as their personal relationship.
They are imbued with fine musicianship and an intimacy that permeates throughout and understand the fine points of instilling it in the hearts and souls of their audience. Jessica has travelled a long route from Broadway where her subtle stylings have meshed beautifully into more jazz-infused renditions.
Her songs were filled with sensitivity and emotion on Jason Robert Brown’s “Hope,” “Help Me” and “A Case of You” (Joni Mitchell), while John maintains his wry sense of suave and frisky humor with Dave Frishberg’s “Slappin’ The Cakes on Me” –a song with a real family history. For excitement there’s nothing like his quick scat in tandem with those fast fingers on guitar.
Not forgetting some Broadway favs with messages, they included “Look to the Rainbow” (Burton Lane, E.Y. Harburg)/”I Have Dreamed” (Rodgers & Hammerstein) and “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” (Rodgers & Hammerstein) – – topical songs of hope, courage and reminders that reflect the current climate.
David Byrne’s “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) was cleverly paired with Lennon & McCartney’s “Two of Us” and punctuated by an encore that left everyone smiling, “I Want to Be Happy” (Vincent Youmans). They do have a knack when it comes to easy, close harmonies.
With the wondrous Konrad Paszkudski on piano, and the great Jay Leonhart on bass, the smooth arrangements rose to the top.
As the saying goes: You’ve come a long way baby – – ten years of residency at the Café Carlyle and 20 years of marriage!
Photos: David Andrako
John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey thru Dec. 1, Café Carlyle, 35 East 76 St., 212 744-1600 – www.ticketweb.com