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John Pizzarelli

John Pizzarelli
Background information
Birth name John Paul Pizzarelli, Jr.
Born (1960-04-06) April 6, 1960
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres Swing, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Labels Telarc, RCA, Novus, Chesky, Stash
Associated acts Bucky Pizzarelli, Martin Pizzarelli, Jessica Molaskey, Rosemary Clooney, Clark Terry

John Paul Pizzarelli, Jr. (born April 6, 1960) is an American jazz guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader. He has had a lengthy career as a recording artist, performing for a variety of labels that include Telarc Records, RCA Records and Chesky Records, among others. He has recorded twenty-three albums of his own, as well as other joint recordings with his father, Bucky Pizzarelli. Additionally, he has appeared on more than forty albums of other recording artists, including those of Sir Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Rosemary Clooney and his wife, Jessica Molaskey.


  • Biography 1
    • Career 1.1
    • Personal life 1.2
  • Select discography 2
    • John Pizzarelli albums 2.1
    • John and Bucky albums 2.2
    • With Jessica Molaskey 2.3
    • As guest or sideman 2.4
  • References 3
  • External links 4



Pizzarelli has recorded nearly 40 albums of music, either as the Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Frigo and Buddy DeFranco, as well as the Boston Pops Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Many if not most of his albums have received good to excellent reviews and are very popular sellers. Additionally, he has been a guest performer on numerous records throughout his career, for a total of over 140 albums.[1]

Pizzarelli often performs with his own jazz quartet, composed of his brother Martin Pizzarelli on double-bass, drummer Tony Tedesco and Larry Fuller on piano. He is also sometimes compared to another jazz singer, Harry Connick, Jr., for his performances of jazz standards and overall popularity.

Although lauded for his swinging interpretations of jazz standards, Pizzarelli also composes his own songs. He is also a fan of bossa nova and released an album entirely composed of that type of music.

Perhaps his most famous and highly regarded album, though, is Dear Mr. Cole, an album featuring Pizzarelli's versions of some of Nat "King" Cole's best known songs. The John Pizzarelli Trio only appears together on track one of the album, "Style is Back in Style". The rest features Pizzarelli performing with Christian McBride on bass and Benny Green on piano.

Pizzarelli and his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey co-host the nationally syndicated weekly radio program Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli.

He appeared on the March 31, 2007 episode of the NPR weekly radio news quiz, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, on the "Not My Job" segment. Pizzarelli sings "Birthday Emotions" on the children's television show Sesame Street.

On October 30, 2012, World on a String: A Musical Memoir, an autobiography of Pizzarelli (co-written with Joseph Cosgriff) was published.

A homage to Billie Holiday was the album To Lady With love (Red Anchor, 2014) of jazz singer Annie Ross which John and his father supported as sidemen.[2]

Personal life

Pizzarelli, an Italian American, was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. During childhood, Pizzarelli was a counselor at the now defunct Knights Day Camp. He grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey and attended Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, New Jersey, an all-boys Roman Catholic High School.[3] He frequently expresses pride about being from New Jersey; a fan favorite at his live shows is the Cosgriff-Bernardi number I Like Jersey Best, a largely humorous tribute to the Garden State.

Pizzarelli is a huge Boston Red Sox fan, and has played baseball (in one capacity or another) all his life. In high school he split his time between studying music and playing sports. As he once said in an interview: "I wasn't making any of the sports teams and I was a big sports fanatic. That's when I realized there was a reason why I was going to band practice." In April 2007 he performed at the BLOHARDS luncheon at The Yale Club of New York City, the BLOHARDS being Red Sox Nation chapter in New York.[4]

He married the actress and singer Jessica Molaskey in 1998, and the couple have a daughter, Madeleine. Pizzarelli also has a son, John Paul Pizzarelli, who is now attending college. They now live in New York City.[5]

Select discography

John Pizzarelli albums

Released Album Notes Label
2015 John Pizzarelli Salutes Johnny Mercer Vector Records
2012 Double Exposure Telarc International
2010-02-23 Rockin' In Rhythm: A Tribute to Duke Ellington Telarc International
2008-08-19 With a Song in My Heart Telarc International
2006-07-18 Dear Mr. Sinatra Telarc International
2005-03-22 Knowing You Telarc International
2004-04-27 Bossa Nova Telarc International
2003-04-22 Live at Birdland Telarc International
2002-04-23 The Rare Delight of You w/ George Shearing Telarc International
2000-11-28 Let There Be Love Telarc International
2000-10-10 Two Family House film soundtrack RCA Records
2000-06-06 Brazil w/ Rosemary Clooney Concord Jazz
2000-02-22 Kisses in the Rain Telarc International
1999-09-14 P.S. Mr. Cole RCA Records
1998-08-25 Meets The Beatles RCA Records
1997-04-29 Our Love Is Here to Stay RCA Records
1996-10-06 Let's Share Christmas RCA Records
1996-01-16 After Hours Novus
1994-11-23 Dear Mr. Cole Novus
1994-06-28 New Standards Novus/RCA
1993-02-09 Naturally Novus
1992-02-14 All of Me Novus
1990-04-18 My Blue Heaven Chesky Records
1988-11-01 One Night With You Chesky Records
1987–?-? Sing! Sing! Sing! P-Vine Records
1985-06-25 Hit That Jive Jack! Stash Records
1983-05-? I'm Hip Stash Records

John and Bucky albums

Released Album Notes Label
2007-04-10 Generations Arbors Records
2006-02-28 The Best of Bucky and John Pizzarelli LRC Ltd.
2006–?-? Around the World in 80 Years Victoria Records
2003-07-01 Legends w/ Skitch Henderson Arbors Records
2001-06-08 Twogether Victrola Records
2001-06-03 Passionate Guitars LRC Ltd.
1999-05-14 Passion Guitars Groove Jams
1999-02-09 Contrasts Arbors Records
1996-07-23 Solos and Duets Jazz Classics
1996-05-14 Live at the Vineyard Theatre Challenge Records
1995-08-01 Nirvana Delta Records

With Jessica Molaskey

Released Album Notes Label
2007-05-08 Sitting in Limbo P.S. Classics
2004-10-05 Make Believe P.S. Classics
2003-05-20 A Good Day P.S. Classics
2002-06-04 Pentimento Image Records

As guest or sideman


  1. ^ John Pizzarelli's Complete Discography at
  2. ^ Loudon, Christopher (January 11, 2015). "Review of Annie Ross: To Lady With love". JazzTimes. Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ Hicks, Robert. "Jazzman pays tribute to Sinatra", Daily Record, June 12, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2011. "John studied at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey before heading off to college at the University of Tampa."
  4. ^ News From the BLOHARDs
  5. ^ NY Times article

External links

  • Official Website
  • John Pizzarelli at AllMusic
  • John Pizzarelli at the Internet Movie Database
  • Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli
  • Performance photographs, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival 2006
  • Live performance photographs May 15, 2006, Jazz Alley, Seattle
  • John Pizzarelli's recording of 'Look For The Silver Lining' for Pioneers for a Cure
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