I never tire of watching John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey working their husband-wife musical magic. Seeing them perform is a tonic, uplifting whatever one’s mood. They are at it again at the Café Carlyle (October 31-November 24, 2012) with a fresh program grounded in their relaxed intimacy that makes it seem as if they are enjoying themselves at home.
To hear Pizzarelli showing his virtuosity on the guitar with “Avalon” and “Kalamazoo,” for example, is entertainment heaven. When he sings he is fond of scatting, complementary to his fierce playing. After “Avalon” Molaskey commented, “How do you follow that intensity?”
They are perfect when they work together, as with “Perdido,” partly singing in unison, partly harmonizing. Individually, he shone on opening night with Joni Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris,” Molaskey following with Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.”
There was jaunty bounce in Pizzarelli’s interpretation of Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.” Molasley did a lovely rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Marcie.” They teamed for an impressive duet with James Taylor’s “It’s Enough to be On Your Way.”
The aforementioned are samplings of the goodies to be enjoyed in their new show. And as an encore, Molaskey’s singing of “Finding Home,” by Ricky Ian Gordon and Tina Landau, especially showed off the beauty of her voice and the sensitivity inherent in her grasp of both music and lyrics.
Extra strength was supplied by the musicianship blend of Larry Fuller at the piano, John’s brother Martin Pizzarelli on bass and Tony Tedesco on drums, John, of course, being in charge on guitar.
It was a convenient occasion to plug John’s new book, “World on a String, a Musical Memoir,” written with Joseph Cosgriff. I look forward to reading it.
If you have never experienced this unique team, here’s your chance to get acquainted in the attractive Café Carlyle setting. And if you are already a fan, you know the pleasure to expect. At the Café Carlyle, the Carlyle Hotel, Madison Avenue at 76th Street. Phone: 212-744-1600. Review posted November 1, 2012.