John Pizzarelli: 'Dear Mr. Sinatra' Live

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli got to open for Frank Sinatra on one of Ol' Blue Eyes' final tours. As he related at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on New Year's Eve 2009, Pizzarelli only got to meet Sinatra once during that time — and it was brief. But he says he'll never forget the sagacity imparted unto him, in all of five terse, powerful words:


  • John Pizzarelli, guitar/voice
  • Tony Kadleck, trumpet
  • Larry Farrell, trombone
  • Andy Fusco, alto saxophone/clarinet
  • Kenny Berger, baritone saxophone
  • Larry Fuller, piano
  • Martin Pizzarelli, bass
  • Tony Tedesco, drums

Set List

  • I've Got The World on a String
  • You Make Me Feel So Young
  • How About You
  • I've Got You Under My Skin
  • The Lady Is A Tramp
  • Witchcraft
  • It's Sunday
  • Nice And Easy
  • In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
  • One For My Baby
  • Ring A Ding Ding
  • My Kind of Town
  • The Last Dance
  • After You've Gone
John Pizzarelli

John Pizzarelli. Timothy White hide caption

toggle caption Timothy White

"Eat something, you look bad."

Since then, Pizzarelli has gone on to create a concert program and an entire studio album dedicated to Sinatra. Dear Mr. Sinatra, it turns out, is a fitting concept for Pizzarelli, who is openly fond of pre-war American Songbook standards sang in upbeat, cheery jazz styles. Backed by a tight septet (with four horns) he calls the Swing Seven, he brought his guitar to Washington, D.C. for the second set of Toast Of The Nation 2009. And he kept the crowd in good spirits throughout — even when he wasn't voicing new arrangements of tunes made famous by "the other great Italian singer from New Jersey."



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from