Minneapolis, Minnesota

After hollering through three baseball games in four days, I welcomed the chance to quietly witness one of the sweetest interludes of music at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant.

John Paul “Bucky” Pizzarelli and Benny Green played together for the first time at the Dakota in August this year. It was such a great experience for them and their audiences that they have returned for a two-day set of performances and CD recording sessions for the Dakota Live label.

Pizzarelli, a renowned, classical jazz guitarist from New Jersey, resembles, at 82, the late Minnesota senator Eugene McCarthy with his white hair and benevolent face. Pianist Green, whose wavy chestnut locks and slight, youthful build belie his 45 years, was born in New York and grew up in Berkeley. Both have enjoyed prolific performing and recording careers.

Their 75-minute set on Sunday included a variety of classical favorites, including “Green Dolphin,” “Body and Soul,” “If I Had,” and “Easy to Remember, So Hard to Forget.” A lengthy medley of Ellington and Strayhorn tunes included “Satin Doll,” “Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me,” “Mellow Tone,” and “Sentimental.”

The two played in joyful synchronicity, Green deftly touching the Yamaha keyboard in harmony with the tone, tempo, volume, and spirit of his elder partner. Theirs was a gracious and generous collaboration between generations that more than lived up to the billing for “satisfying” music.

According to Lowell Pickett, the Dakota’s impresario, Pizzarelli and Green may tour together. Watch for them at a venue near you.

Benny Green & Bucky Pizzarelli continue at the Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 7pm & 9:30pm, Mon., Sept. 29. 612.332.1010 or www.dakotacooks.com.


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