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Dear Mr. Sinatra

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 18, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

John Pizzarelli, one of the most celebrated performers bringing popular standards to a new generation, pays homage to Frank Sinatra with the release of Dear Mr. Sinatra. Early in his career, Pizzarelli opened for Sinatra on tour. His father, the jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli, played on many of Sinatra's seminal recordings. Focusing on songs that were specifically written for 'Ol' Blue Eyes' and also featuring The Clayton- Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Dear Mr. Sinatra is in many ways the most personal of all the Sinatra tributes available. Dear Mr. Sinatra, follows Pizzarelli's highly-acclaimed tributes to Nat King Cole (Dear Mr. Cole and P.S. Mr. Cole), Antonio Carlos Jobim (Bossa Nova) and The Beatles (John Pizzarelli Meets The Beatles).

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With his eternally boyish tenor and cheery romantic outlook, John Pizzarelli is a stylistic world apart from Frank Sinatra, he of the manly baritone and dark sensual undercurrents. But like his Italian-American forebear, he's a consummate swinger, and he knows how to make a lyric his own. Comprised mostly of tunes written for the Chairman, Dear Mr. Sinatra is a musical fan letter without the usual schmaltz or reverence. An actively intelligent singer and guitarist, Pizzarelli reshapes the material to fit his personality, whether quietly enunciating "You Make Me Feel So Young," scatting over a brief guitar solo on "How About You?," or making the emotions sneak up on you on a medley of "I See Your Face Before Me" and "In the Wee Small Hours (of the Morning)." He's equally at home with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra as he is with his working combo, largely because in John Clayton, he has a skilled arranger who is equally open to recasting the songs--dig the jagged rhythms, hesitation effects, and burnished tones on "I've Got You Under My Skin." Even as he asserts his own style, Pizzarelli subtly conveys his affection for Sinatra in his phrasing. The album also boasts an agreeable Frank-like running time of 39 minutes. --Lloyd Sachs
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 18, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000FTWAC2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,838 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr. R. J. Davidson on March 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Every singer ends up attempting Sinatra eventually, but few manage so well....

John Pizzarelli has been playing jazz guitar with his legendary father, Bucky, since he was 6 years old.

John's latest album is Dear Mr. Sinatra, on which he plays songs written for Ol' Blue Eyes....

The crooner is noted for his sensitive phrasing and powerful interpretative voice, which recall the relaxed stylings of Nat "King" Cole and Chet Baker, as well as for his fluid, inventive guitar playing.

On this album of covers of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, John Pizzarelli wisely avoids the pitfalls of Ol' Blue Eyes imitations in favor of his own intimate approach, best heard on the set's more relaxed arrangements.

My highlights are the tracks "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Nice and Easy" and "You Make Me Feel So Young".

Both attention-grabbing and supportive, his expertly arranged big band accompaniment likewise evokes the ring-a-ding-ding of the Rat Pack era while steering clear of mere pastiche.

With a total time just under 40 minutes, the program is a little short by CD standards, but the performances by John Pizzarelli and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra in this warm tribute to Frank Sinatra are consistently of high caliber and hit the mark every time.
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Format: Audio CD
I just purchased John Pizzarelli's new CD, DEAR MR SINATRA, and absolutely love it. If John ever reads this I want him to know that it is his best record yet. Of all the artists that have made Sinatra records in recent times, this one, by far, figured out how to interpret one of our greatest singers with class, style and incredible musicality. I highly recommend this CD for Pizzarelli fans, Sinatra fans, music fans and anyone who just wants to hears something special.
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Format: Audio CD
As a longtime Sinatra fan who was fortunate enought to see Sinatra in concert many times, I feel I am qualified to say that John Pizzarelli's new CD, DEAR MR SINATRA, is a truly outstanding and accomplished work. John Pizzarelli captures the essence of everything that was Sinatra: swing style, powerful lyrics and impeccable taste for music. Of all the young musicians of today that have taken on a Sinatra projects -- and there are many -- none have done it close to this well. Kudos to John for giving us something wonderful.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
John Pizzarelli, the 7-string jazz guitar genius, is at his best when paired with a dynamic backup band, and the very talented Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra fits the bill perfectly with the "Dear Mr. Sinatra" album. Although these are Sinatra songs plucked right from the Great American Songbook don't look for traditional treatment by Pizzarelli, who revels in the "in-between" chord transitions left out of so many other typical arrangements. My favorite cut from the bunch is "Nice and Easy," a tune that is so catchy you'll wonder if you ever heard it before even if you have. Crisp, tight brass arrangements from the crew and a nice touch on the mixing controls creates the feeling that you are right there in front of the band, exactly the kind of intimate, relaxed ambience you would expect if you were just a few seats from the bar with a drink in your hand. "Dear Mr. Pizzarelli: Nice job!"
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According to the liner notes for "Dear Mr Sinatra" the foundation for this latest John Pizzarelli CD is "... songs that were written for Frank Sinatra...". As a result, this premise gives us some rarer songs and eliminates the more usual suspects. You will still find "Witchcraft", "How about You" and "Nice and Easy" amongst other familiar titles but how often do you find "Ring a Ding Ding", "I see you face before me" and "Yes, sir that's my baby" in an album these days?

But wait. "Yes, sir that's my baby"? That was written in 1925, and Sinatra didn't record it until 1966 - so perhaps that was not written just for him. OK, it is the foundation for the choice of material and not a prerequisite - but if you come up with such a good idea why not stick with it? Particularly when Sinatra was one of those few singers who really did have dozens of songs written for him.

Let me say before I go any further, I am a huge fan of John Pizzarelli, but quite frankly this latest album is something of a disappointment. I find John more at home with a small group of instrumentalists behind him. However in view of the choice of material it was understandable to go for the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz orchestra. Sadly some of the arrangements (mostly by John Clayton) either seem too brash or at worse "empty". You feel that the whole project was rushed through to the extent that I found the balance of vocal and orchestra quite puzzling on some tracks. I can salvage a few tracks that I will play over - "Ring a Ding Ding", "I see you face before me / In the wee small hours", "Can't we be friends" and "The Last Dance", (again liner note writers please take note: Cahn & Van Heusen's song is called "The Last Dance" not "Last Dance").
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Format: Audio CD
I buy alot of jazz and mostly of from the Great American Songbook genre. My CD (and LP!) collection covers from Nat, Bing, Rosie and Frank; to Satchmo, Benny and Duke; to the current crop of living interpreters -- young and old -- like Tony, Diana, Jane, Michael Feinstein and, of course, John Pizzarelli. John's new CD, DEAR MR. SINATRA, captures the essence of where the Songbook came from and provides listeners all they need to know to understand why it is still so alive today. This is a superb CD that I love and know you will too.
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