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John Pizzarelli: Midnight McCartney *

Album Notes

John Pizzarelli lays it all out in the title of his 2015 album: this tribute to Paul McCartney is designed for play in the smoky late-night hours, when everything turns sweet and mellow. Furthermore, this is a tribute to McCartney, not the Beatles. There isn't a Fab song to be found here, as Pizzarelli focuses entirely on Paul's solo work (for these intents and purposes, this includes Wings records), concentrating on the '70s but also sliding McCartney's Great American Songbook wannabe "My Valentine" into the mix. Pizzarelli digs up a few other obscurities -- the early Wings song "Some People Never Know," the Speed of Sound deep cut "Warm and Beautiful" -- and he also plays around with expectations, making "Let 'Em In" swing like mad and relaxing "Hi Hi Hi" so it doesn't rock, it grooves. He also invites Michael McDonald to sing on "Coming Up," which swaggers like Sinatra in Vegas, but for as delightful as that is, the key to the record's success is Pizzarelli himself, who delivers upon the laid-back promise of the title but is savvier than he needed to be, which is why Midnight McCartney satisfies. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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