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John Pizzarelli's solo act fills the KNKX studios

Alone with his guitar, John Pizzarelli brought the energy and personality of a big band to KNKX's Studio X while in Seattle. Pizzarelli was a one-man rhythm section at the least, and all entertainer, sharing stories with his guitar smoothly segueing into song.

Pizzarelli's current tour with his trio celebrated his latest album Stage & Screen and also coincided with the 40th anniversary of his debut album, I'm Hip...Don't Tell My Father. Drawing from across his career, Pizarelli shared more than enough music and stories to forgive him for leaving behind talented trio mates pianist Isaiah J. Thompson and bassist Mike Karn.

The new album was titled after Pizzarelli had already chosen the songs he wanted to record. As it happens, many of his favorite jazz standards originated on Broadway and in Hollywood.

Sharing memories of that first album from 1983, which featured his legendary guitarist dad Bucky Pizzarelli, the younger Pizzarelli revealed a less-confident side of his early career. He said he was very nervous, and the session was rushed. But backed confidently by his father's trio, it all worked out fine.

John Pizzarelli also talked about his busy schedule in the pandemic shutdowns and co-producingJames Taylor's recent Grammy-winning album of songs from the Great American Songbook, American Standard.

Pizzarelli said - and demonstrated with his guitar - how Taylor put his own unique twist on the time-honored classics, a process he called "James-Taylor-ized."

Mr. Taylor and standards also featured in Pizzarelli's set list. Along with "Straighten Up and Fly Right," made famous by his hero Nat King Cole, the Rodgers and Hart ballad "Where or When" and session closer "I Got Rhythm," Pizzarelli treated the KNKX studio audience with Pat Metheny's song "James," written for Taylor.

"There's the tie-in," Pizzarelli laughed, "to my Grammy award!"

John Pizzarelli never disappoints when he visits Seattle, from his swinging and beautiful performances to his charming view of a fascinating life in music. Listen or watch this exclusive KNKX Studio Session above.


  1. Straighten Up and Fly Right
  2. Where or When
  3. James
  4. I Got Rhythm
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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