Interesting one, slightly counterintuitive in a way and so very fascinating partly because of this, news that top class swing, retro, mainstream star seven-stringed guitarist and proud New Jerseyite John Pizzarelli is to release a themed deep dive into the work of jazz-rock, occasionally avant, even contemporary-classical, guitar everyman, composer Pat Metheny on a new album titled Better Days Ahead (Solo Guitar Takes on Pat Metheny).
Tracks are: 'Better Days Ahead'; 'Spring Ain’t Here'; 'April Wind/Phase Dance'; 'September Fifteenth'; 'James'; 'Antonia'; '(It’s Just) Talk'; 'Letter from Home'; 'If I Could'; 'Last Train Home'; 'From this Place'; 'The Bat'; 'Farmer’s Trust.'
Metheny reference points are: 'Better Days Ahead' appeared on Letter From Home, 1989; 'Spring Ain’t Here' also on Letter from Home; 'April Wind/Phase Dance' Pat Metheny Group, 1978; 'September Fifteenth' As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls, 1981; 'James' Offramp, 1982; 'Antonia' Secret Story, 1992; '(It’s Just) Talk' Still Life (Talking), 1987; 'Letter from Home' Letter From Home; 'If I Could' First Circle, 1984; 'Last Train Home' on Still Life (Talking); 'From this Place' the most recent choice and on From This Place, 2020; 'The Bat' 80/81, 1980; 'Farmer’s Trust' Travels, 1983.
I've only heard Pizzarelli play live once, when he appeared during a residency at Feinstein's in the Regency, New York, in the spring of 2003 which was a very swinging occasion and when he was joined by his brother Martin on double bass, wife singer Jessica Molaskey and dad the great Bucky who passed away last year. The highlight that night was when Pizzarelli sang 'I like Jersey Best'. JP used to play London a lot, typically at venues such as the much missed Pizza on the Park in Knightsbridge.
Issuing label is Ghostlight who note Metheny's positive reaction: “To say it was flattering to have John address these tunes is an understatement. I had no idea that it was all leading to this excellent solo guitar recording of my tunes.” SG Out on 16 April. The beautifully captured '(It's Just) Talk' is streaming. John Pizzarelli, photo: YouTube