John Pizzarelli

John Paul Pizzarelli Jr. (born April 6, 1960) is an American jazz guitarist and vocalist. He has recorded over twenty solo albums and has appeared on more than forty albums by other recording artists, including Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Rosemary Clooney; his father, jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli; and his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey.

John Pizzarelli
Pizzarelli at the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival
Pizzarelli at the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival
Background information
Birth nameJohn Paul Pizzarelli Jr.
Born (1960-04-06) April 6, 1960 (age 60)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresJazz, swing
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, composer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1980–present
LabelsP-Vine, Chesky, Novus, RCA, Telarc, Arbors, Concord
Associated actsBucky Pizzarelli, Martin Pizzarelli, Jessica Molaskey, Ray Kennedy

Early lifeEdit

The son of swing guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli was born in Paterson, New Jersey. He started on guitar when he was six and played trumpet through his college years.[1] He attended Don Bosco Preparatory High School, an all-boys Catholic school. In his teens, he performed with Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Zoot Sims, Slam Stewart, and Clark Terry.[2]

Pizzarelli attended the University of Tampa and William Paterson University, though he has said that his most important teacher was his father from 1980–1990.[1] During the 1980s, he established himself as a jazz guitarist and a vocalist. He released his debut solo album, I'm Hip (Please Don't Tell My Father), in 1983.[3]


During the 1990s, Pizzarelli played in a trio with Ray Kennedy and Martin Pizzarelli, his younger brother. In 1993, the trio was the opening act for Frank Sinatra. Four years later, Pizzarelli starred in Dream, a Broadway show devoted to the music of Johnny Mercer.[1][3] He has named Nat King Cole as the inspiration for his career[1] and honors that influence in the albums Dear Mr. Cole (BMG, 1994) and P.S. Mr. Cole (RCA, 1999). He has also recorded tribute albums to Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Richard Rodgers, and Paul McCartney.[3] He and his father accompanied Annie Ross on her album To Lady with Love (Red Anchor, 2014), a tribute to Billie Holiday that Ross recorded when she was eighty-four.[4]

He has hosted a national radio show, Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli, with his wife, singer and actress Jessica Molaskey.[1] Other musicians he has worked with include George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Frigo, Buddy DeFranco, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.[5]

He sang the 1999 big-band jingle for Foxwoods Resort Casino, titled "The Wonder of It All."[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Pizzarelli's father died on April 1, 2020, from complications to Covid-19.[7]


As leaderEdit

With Bucky Pizzarelli

  • Nirvana, Bucky Pizzarelli (Delta, 1995)
  • Contrasts (Arbors, 1999)
  • Twogether (Victrola, 2001)
  • Around the World in 80 Years, Bucky Pizzarelli (Victoria, 2006)
  • Generations (Arbors, 2007)
  • Sunday at Pete's, The Pizzarelli Boys (Challenge, 2007)
  • Pizzarelli Party, Arbors All Stars (Arbors, 2009)
  • Diggin' Up Bones, Bucky Pizzarelli (Arbors, 2009)
  • Desert Island Dreamers, The Pizzarelli Boys (Arbors, 2010)
  • Back in the Saddle Again, Bucky Pizarelli (Arbors, 2010)
  • Passionate Guitars (2010)
  • Family Fugue (Arbors, 2011)

With Jessica Molaskey

As sideman or guestEdit

With Monty Alexander

  • My America (Telarc, 2002)

With Harry Allen

  • Are You Having Any Fun? (Audiophile Records, 1994)
  • Tenors Anyone? (Slider, 2004)

With Sam Arlen

  • Arlen Plays Arlen: The Timeless Tribute to Harold Arlen (Arbors, 2005)

With Debby Boone

With Cheryl Bentyne

  • The Book of Love (Telarc, 2006)

With Ray Brown

  • Some of My Best Friends Are...Guitarists (Telarc, 2002)

With Rosemary Clooney

With Kristin Chenoweth

With Buddy DeFranco

  • Cookin' the Books (Arbors, 2004)

With Karen Egert

  • That Thing Called Love (2007)

With Johnny Frigo

  • Live from Studio A in New York City (Chesky Records, 1989)

With Natalie Cole

With Sara Gazarek

With Stephane Grappelli

  • Live at the Blue Note (Telarc, 1995)

With Skitch Henderson and Bucky Pizzarelli

  • Legends (Arbors, 2003)

With Hilary Kole

  • Haunted Heart

With Erich Kunzel

  • Got Swing! (Telarc, 2002)
  • Christmastime Is Here (Telarc, 2006)

With The Manhattan Transfer

With Paul McCartney

With Jane Monheit

  • Home (2010)

With Rickie Lee Jones

With Donnie O'Brien

  • Meets Manhattan Swing in a Basie Mood (Arbors, 2003)

With Curtis Stigers

  • Real Emotional (Concord, 2007)

With James Taylor

With Aaron Weinstein

  • A Handful of Stars (Arbors, 2005)


  1. ^ a b c d e Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  2. ^ Lamb, Buzz (January 2016). "John Pizzarelli" (PDF). Jazz and Blues Florida. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Collar, Matt. "John Pizzarelli". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Loudon, Christopher (January 11, 2015). "Annie Ross: To Lady with Love". JazzTimes. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  5. ^ John Pizzarelli's Complete Discography Archived September 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at
  6. ^ "1999 Foxwoods TV commercial - "The Wonder Of It All" (:30)". YouTube. March 18, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  7. ^ Westhoven, William (April 2, 2020). "Jazz-guitar great Bucky Pizzarelli dies at 94 after testing positive for coronavirus". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved April 4, 2020.

External linksEdit