Friday, October 15, 2010

John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey, A Dynamic Duo

On Tuesday, October 12, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending  the John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey show, "The Heart of a Saturday Night" at the Cafe Carlyle in New York City. First, if there is a more intimate or romantic cafe setting in the US, I have yet to discover it. Each time I get to hear John Pizzarelli he just keeps getting better. He is never  satisfied with his past performances and keeps pushing the envelope with his playing, singing and song selection skills. But the skill I like the most is his ability to take a "standard" that we all know well and perform it in a new arrangement that makes the song new again. This was the first time that I had the pleasure of hearing John's wife, Jessica Molaskey perform live and I really enjoyed her selection of songs and wonderful voice.  I heard her sing on CDs and radio shows but actually seeing her sing in person was a real treat.  She presents herself as a seasoned professional. Prior to the show I wondered how the voices of John and Jessica and their different approach to songs would sound once they sang together. After the first few songs, I had no further questions. While both performers have a very different approach to the songs they love, the warmth and  mutual respect they generate provides the bridge between their styles. I know a lot about John's background and family, and I can only guess that Jessica has been fully assimilated into the new Pizzarelli extended family. It really works for both of them and lifts them to a higher level of performance. I am not going to review all of the great songs they performed as the "New York Times" has an excellent review you can look up on line.  However, there was one song that I must mention. It started with John singing a soft and lush version of Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings" and then a seamless entrance of Jessica's voice singing parts of the wonderful Jonathan Larson song "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent".  The show runs through Nov 6th.  If you can get to see this show, it is really worth the effort.  John and Jessica, thank you for the wonderful evening, and please plan to do more shows together in the near future!        

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