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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Midnight McCartney

Concord CRE 37634-02



1. Silly Love Songs

2. My Love

3. Heart of the Country

4. Coming Up

5. No More Lonely Nights

6. Warm and Beautiful

7. Hi, Hi, Hi

8. Junk

9. My Valentine

10. Let ‘em In

11. Some People Never Know

12. Maybe I’m Amazed

13. Wonderful Christmastime

John Pizzarelli - Guitar, vocals

Helio Alves – Piano (tracks 1, 5, 9, 13)

Martin Pizzzarelli - Bass

Duduka DeFonseca - Drums, percussion (tracks 1, 5, 9, 13)

Jessica Molaskey, John Pizzarelli – Background vocals (tracks 1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13)

Madeleine Pizzarelli - Background vocals (tracks 1, 5, 9, 10, 13)

Larry Goldings – Piano, organ (tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, 11)

Kevin Kanner – Drums (tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11)

Bucky Pizzarelli -- Rhythm guitar, guitar solo (tracks 2, 6, 8)

Paul Woodiel, Robin Zeh – Violin (tracks 2, 6, 8)

Chris Cardona – Viola (tracks 2, 6, 8)

Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf – Cello (tracks 2, 6, 7, 8)

Katherine Fink, Pamela Sklar – Alto flute (tracks 2, 6, 8)

Michael McDonald – Guest vocalist (track 4)

Konrad Paszkudzki – Piano (tracks 4, 8, 10)

John Mosca – Trombone (tracks 4, 7, 10)

Tony Kadleck – Trumpet (tracks 4, 7, 10)

Andy Fusco – Alto sax (tracks 4, 7, 10)

Harry Allen – Tenor sax (tracks 5, 8, 9)

It was Paul McCartney’s idea that John Pizzarelli should record some of Paul’s post-Beatles songs. John was open to the idea, having already recorded a “Meets the Beatles” album in the late 1990s which applied the Pizzarelli magic to some Beatles songs. In addition John had played on McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom album, which included the song My Valentine that Pizzarelli interprets here.

I think they call it a double whammy. John Pizzarelli not only plays the guitar with great inventiveness but he also sings in an attractively warm voice. He even sounds rather like Paul McCartney on tunes like Heart of the Country and No More Lonely Nights, as if he has listened to Paul’s versions of the songs and been influenced by them. Like Paul, John is not afraid of sounding sentimental. Typically romantic tracks are My Valentine and Warm and Beautiful. And John uses his guitar effectively to accompany him on songs like Maybe I’m Amazed.

Besides the gentle songs, there are plenty of punchy ones as well. Hi, Hi, Hi swings along in good jazz mode, with groovy solos from pianist Larry Goldings and John Pizzarelli. Coming Up has the double whammy of John duetting with Michael McDonald: an interesting contrast in vocal tones. And Let ‘em In has Pizzarelli scatting along at speed with his guitar.

Wonderful Christmastime gets in at the end under cover of being called a ”bonus track”. It is transformed into a latinate style reminiscent of Sergio Mendes or Herb Alpert. Like the whole album, it’s a bit soppy but marvellous all the same. John Pizzarelli assembled talented musicians to build up his vision and it works – wonderfully.

Tony Augarde

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