Mention the name "Bucky" in jazz circles and heads nod in reverence. It is understood that the reference is to one of the most exceptional jazz guitarists ever to reach for an Archtop, Bucky Pizzarelli.
At age 17, John "Bucky" Pizzarelli was touring with Vaughan Monroe's dance band. After his wartime service with the army during the '40's, Bucky returned stateside and rejoined the RCA recording group.
By 1952 Pizzarelli was on contract with NBC and later helped play the classy musical backdrop for The Tonight Show with Doc Severinson.
Inspired by George Van Eps to play the 7-string electric guitar, Bucky became known as one of the few 7-stringers in the jazz world. He cranked the extra string to A, allowing him to play a deep bass line alongside his swinging solos.
A phenomenal rhythm player, Bucky has always been sought out as a first-call session man. One of his first big-time jobs was touring with the legendary Benny Goodman. He's also teamed up with Zoot Zims, Bud Freeman, and his talented son, John Pizzarelli, Jr. One notable honor showed up at his door when violinist Stephane Grappelli asked Bucky to take Django Reinhardt's slot in his famous trio.
Pizzarelli has recorded with some of the greatest jazz artists of our time, including Duke Ellington, Doc Cheatham, and vocalists Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughan. He has also played rhythm guitar on scores for the movies Stand By Me, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Woody Allen's Sweet and Low.
Go to a Bucky Pizzarelli show and you are offered an array of solid 7-string jazz guitar virtuosity in the most real sense. But that's not all. You also get an opportunity to catch the man himself who is still full of gusto and offers a ready smile as he banters with his family, the band, and the audience.
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