Singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli, a master in the art of reinventing jazz classics, celebrates the music of Duke Ellington, undeniably one of the most prominent musical icons of the 20th century. Rockin' In Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington is Pizzarelli's first ever Ellington recording.
Pizzarelli was still a very young musician when Ellington died in May 1974, but thanks to his father - veteran guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli - he would eventually learn much about jazz's most important composer. "Duke's music was an integral part of any set my father played," says Pizzarelli. "I heard a tremendous amount of his music listening to my Dad and then through performing with him. There are some many beautiful melodies and so many discoveries to be made on any given night."
Like Ellington, Pizzarelli crafts his performances to spotlight the talents of his band members. In addition to a solo track ("Just Squeeze Me"), four songs on Rockin' In Rhythm showcases his quartet - pianist Larry Fuller, bassist/brother Martin Pizzarelli and drummer Tony Tedesco - and seven tracks include the Swing Seven horns with arrangements by Don Sebesky.
Rockin' In Rhythm combines the enduring work of Duke Ellington with John Pizzarelli's incredible ability to reinterpret the Great American Songbook. Pizzarelli says, "Don Sebesky surprised us all at the session when, after the `keeper' take of `C Jam,' he said that we should `thank Pizzarelli for getting us all together to play Duke Ellington.' Well, I am grateful that when I chose to salute such an American icon as Duke Ellington, I had such tremendous friends and associates to help realize my dream."