A fine pair of jazz vocalists combine forces at Strathmore

Two renowned jazz vocalists, John Pizzarelli and Kurt Elling, will share the stage at Strathmore. The two, who just happen to be buddies and perform the same genre of music, vow there is no competition between them because they are both firmly grounded in their own sense of style.
“John is a good musician — he’s a prince!” said Elling, who has received multiple awards including a Grammy. “And he is one of my favorite people to work with.”

And of his pal, Pizzarelli said, “I love what [Elling] does. I love being in the same room with him. We don’t usually plan our shows until we’re together at rehearsal. We do pretty much a little of everything from our [individual] records over the past 20 years.”

Pizzarelli will solo with songs mainly from his 11th and most recent album, “Double Exposure,” set for release on May 15. The album draws from the material of some of the best pop song writers — Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to name a few — that Pizzarelli grew up listening to and later performed with.

“I didn’t want to just cover these songs, but rather find a way to present them that was unusual and interesting,” explained Pizzarelli. “And there’s plenty of material — that’s the beauty of it. It’s wonderful because you can go in any direction.”

That direction leads him and his acoustic guitar to amazing renditions of songs such as “Ruby Baby,” “Free Man in Paris” and “I Feel Fine.” Pizzarelli’s style is a musical banquet of jazz, swing, pop bossa nova and the American Songbook.

Elling, who has “a couple of party tricks” to bring to the show, will perform some of his original material as well as a side project of his during his solo set, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s world tour for children’s charities.

“We’ve got Nelson Riddle [arrangements] and mine from the classical material Sinatra did at that time,” Elling said. “Audiences will recognize “Come Fly with Me,” “Moonlight in Vermont” and “Day In, Day Out.”

When both gentlemen take the stage, just about anything can happen. As Pizzarelli said, “Kurt and I are a pretty good night of music, and we’re excited to be out there.”