Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has been hailed by the Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” Established as one of the prime contemporary interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Pizzarelli has expanded that repertoire by including the music of Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Antônio Carlos Jobim and the Beatles.
In addition to being a bandleader and solo performer, Pizzarelli has been a special guest on recordings for major pop names such as Natalie Cole, Kristin Chenoweth, Tom Wopat, Rickie Lee Jones and Dave Van Ronk, as well as leading jazz artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Ruby Braff, Johnny Frigo, Buddy DeFranco, Harry Allen and, of course, his father Bucky Pizzarelli. He won a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category as co-producer of James Taylor’s American Standard in 2021.
A radio personality who got his start in the medium in 1984, Pizzarelli is co-host, alongside wife Jessica Molaskey, of Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli. He has performed on America’s most popular national television shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Conan, and Great Performances, as well as the talk shows of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Regis Philbin and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Buyers may choose between general admission table seating on the floor or assigned seating in the balcony sections for this Mechanics Hall presentation.
This presentation will feature bassist Mike Karn and pianist Isaiah J. Thompson. Read more about each musician below:
Isaiah J. Thompson is the winner of the 2023 American Pianists Awards and the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz of the American Pianists Association. Originally from West Orange, New Jersey, the pianist, bandleader and composer began studying at The Calderone School of Music from an early age. Soon after, Isaiah continued his studies with Jazz House Kids and NJPAC Jazz For Teens and was later admitted to The Juilliard School graduating with both his Bachelor’s in 2019 and Master’s of Music degrees in 2020.
Isaiah has performed with major artists, including Ron Carter, John Pizzarelli, Christian McBride, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Steve Turre and Buster Williams. His recording debut was featured on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Blue Engine Records’ Handful of Keys album with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, and he has since released multiple recordings as a leader.
He worked on the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack for Motherless Brooklyn, was named a Steinway Artist and has been awarded other accolades including, the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, and second place in the 2018 Thelonious Monk Competition. As a performer, Isaiah tries to emit love, spirit and respect and convey his personal experiences through his artistry and his everlasting love of jazz.
Growing up in Rochester NY, Mike Karn became obsessed with the tenor saxophone and in 1984 entered New York University’s jazz program to study with modern tenor great, Joe Lovano. In 1988 Michael entered the New York scene, and for more than 20 years worked with artists such as Ray Charles, Harry Connick Jr., Charles Earland, and Toshiko Akiyoshi while recording two albums as a leader on the Criss Cross Jazz label.
In 2007 Mike began to seriously pursue the bass and within a couple of years was working with some of New York’s best musicians, including tenor great Lew Tabakin and with jazz vocal legend Jon Hendricks in a concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall. In 2010 Mike began playing with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (VJO) and quickly established himself as the band’s first call sub. In addition to numerous Monday nights at the Village Vanguard, Mike has traveled with the VJO throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. In February 2012 Mike performed with NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath’s big band, as part of a concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Since then Michael has played with Jimmy and his equally legendary brother, and fellow Jazz Master Albert “Tootie” Heath on numerous occasions including multiple engagements at the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard, and the 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival. In 2015 Mike had the opportunity to travel to Japan with yet another jazz legend, vocalist/pianist Freddy Cole, performing for a week at Tokyo’s Cotton Club. In 2018 Mike returned to Asia with Freddy, playing again at the Cotton Club as well as the Blue Note in Beijing. In 2015 Mike joined the band of guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli and since then has appeared with him throughout the the U.S. and Canada, as well as tours of Japan, Brazil and multiple trips to Europe. He is also featured on Pizzarelli’s two most recent cds, Sinatra and Jobim @ 50, and the 2019 release For Centennial Reasons. With John and his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey, Mike has participated in several broadcasts on Pizzarelli and Molaskey’s syndicated radio show, Radio Deluxe, and he also appears on Molaskey’s Joni Mitchell themed CD, Portraits of Joni.
Mike is a member of Reunion 7tet, a jazz collective of musicians who have been good friends and musical colleagues for more than 20 years. The collective includes, Joe Magnarelli, Jerry Weldon, Dave Schumacher, Rob Bargad, Mike Karn, Daniel Sadownick, and Jason Brown. Their debut CD, A Field of You features original compositions by members of the band, including Mike’s tune, Lori.
In addition to these great artists Mike has performed/recorded with George Coleman, Frank Wess, Bob Wilber, George Coleman, Joe Lovano, Bennie Wallace, Walt Weiskopf, Harry Allen, Grant Stewart, Eric Alexander, Ken Peplowski, Terrell Stafford, Harold Mabern, Barry Harris, Johnny O’Neal, Mike LeDonne, Larry Goldings, Helio Alves, Alan Broadbent, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Peter Bernstein, Jimmy Cobb, Al Foster, Victor Lewis, Lewis Nash and Duduka Da Fonseca.
Finally, Mike is also active as a jazz educator. He has been a member of the jazz faculty at New School University for more than 20 years, and his former pupils include Marcus Strickland, John Ellis, Keith Loftis, Casey Benjamin and Dmitry Baevsky. He has also taught at New York University, S.U.N.Y. Purchase, and taught master classes at Emory University and the Big Apple in Nonoichi Festival in Kanazawa, Japan.
“…he has reinvigorated the Great American Songbook and re-popularized jazz…“
Enjoy Pizzarelli’s full collection of live performance videos and more on his YouTube channel: