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PATRICK TUZZOLINO: REVIEWS

[LA JAZZ SCENE. March 2010 . Issue 270]

     I’ve reviewed vocalist/pianist Pat Tuzzolino many times over the years.  The reason is simple – he’s the best male jazz singer in L.A. and over all, he’s been a very consistent performer Some nights  he might sing mostly standards and classic jazz tunes; other times he will slip in some pop tunes that he’s jazzed up in his own style. Also, I brought along my son, his daughter, Desiree and her friend, Liz, so we had a chance for an evening out before Desiree is deployed next month for her Army training.  Desi remembered Tuzzolino from our 14th Anniversary Party, which was held at the Musicians Union on September 9, 2001.  It also happened to be Desi’s birthday and she was presented with a cake that day.  Two days later, on September 11th, everything changed for our country.

   We arrived early and got settled Upstairs at Vitello’s, ordered salads and a large pizza.  Tuzzolino played piano with a small keyboard on top, so he could take care of the organ effects and bass duties.  Guitarist Larry Koonse and drummer Don Williams settled in and Tuzzolino kicked off with a blues-drenched “Sunny.”  Koonse set the mood with his solid Wes Montgomery-like solo.  Tuzzolino sang the familiar lyrics then added an organ solo, using the keyboard.  “It Could Happen To You” was slower paced, as Tuzzolino sang, Williams churned out a hip rhythmic approach using  brushes.  Koonse swung gently.  “Volare” was treated just like a jazz tune at a fast pace.  Koonse zeroed in on the melody as Williams was busy keeping a great drum surge going.  Tuzzolino created snappy organ lines.  It was a fine lesson in turning a pop tune into something jazzy.  Tuzzolino began “Don’t Be That Way” with his deep,  baritone voice at an easy tempo.  After a bit, Tuzzolino’s voice became energized, more boisterous before he smoothed things out and scatted at the end.  “Angel Eyes” is a beautiful, evocative  tune that Tuzzolino sings with no such grace.  He takes his time to tell the sad story.  Koonse used a softer approach, very elegant actually.  What a beautiful rendition!

   “This Could Be the Start of Something Big” was a big tune, moving fast.  Williams and Koonse kept the rhythm churning and boiling along.  With the trio format, every instrument is clearly heard and appreciated.  Williams used one stick to tap the end of a drumhead, as his other stick tapped at the snare drum.  He was very well occupied, one might say, “Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon” is familiar to anyone who lived through the ‘70s.  It was a real kick, sexy yet gently groovy.  Tuzzolino made the tune sound completely new and fresh.  I know Tuzzolino’s style well, hearing him for so many years and I’ll always be a fan.  The longer Koonse and Williams played, the more impressed I was.  Something very good was happening onstage.  The three musicians got in sync, each distinctive, each adding highlights to every song.  The energy, the swinging lines they created together and singly were outstanding.  The trio roared through “Line for Lyons,” the bop classic.  They turned it into something more, as Koonse zeroed in, Williams went on a tear and Tuzzolino scatted in crazy, controlled, sublime patterns.  All three raced for the finish line, stopping on a dime.

   “The Waters of March” is one of the trickiest tunes to do well.  The lyrics are sung super fast and they’re not simplistic or repetitive.  It tells a complete story.  The trio worked hard but wow, what a feeling of relief when they pull it off!  Koonse and Williams really went to town, full engaged.  Tuzzolino worked hard, his right hand fingers pounding the piano as his left hand works the bass keyboard, as he sang the lyrics like the true pro that he is.  They brought it all to a beautiful conclusion.  Other tunes performed before a  break were “The Summer Wind,” “Sunday in New York” and a swingy, sassy “Girl Talk.”

    We all had a great time; Desi and Liz are not die-hard jazz fans but they enjoyed the music a lot.  I’m always happy to expose Desi to good jazz and we’ve been going out together since she was a little girl.  She might not always understand all this music but I know she loves hanging out in jazz clubs.  Add pizza and it’s a good deal!

                                                Myrna Daniels

MYRNA DANIELS - LA JAZZ SCENE (Jan 3, 2011)

LOS ANGELES TIMES                                                                    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2001

Tuzzolino Deftly Blends Vocal, Piano Chords

 

 

Jazz Review

By DON HECKMAN

Special to the Times

 

Anyone brooding over the paucity of male jazz singers is directed to the Monday night performances of Pat Tuzzolino at Charlie O’s Jazz room in Valley glen.  Although Tuzzolino, who plays key boards and occasionally guitar, has been a regular in the Los Angeles jazz community for years, he has never quite put everything together as thoroughly as he is now doing in his current trio, with Frankie Capp on Drums and Sam Most on flute and saxophones.

     This keystone element in his performances, however, is an interactive relationship with his keyboards.  Ono Monday night, for example, he kicked off the set with an up-tempo romp through “Tea for Two.”  Using a keyboard synthesizer to generate bass lines with his left hand, he chorded with his right hand on the acoustic piano, the two fused elements powering the engine that drives his hard-swinging vocals.

     Other tunes followed to profusion:  “I’m Beginning to See the Light” rendered with a brisk, upbeat swing; “Shiny Stockings” resonating with memories of Count Basie; “Lush Life” in a fashion that retained its sardonic edge without sacrificing its inherent jazz qualities.

     And that was just the beginning.  As he continued through his set, Tuzzolino’s multiple skills became even more apparent.  His scat singing was the real thing, moving imaginatively and articulately through a song’ s harmonies, often making his voice the lead element in orchestral-like keyboard harmonies.

    Add to that the warm muscularity of his sound, a solidly rhythmic sense of phrasing and his respect for the storytelling aspects of a song’s lyrics, and the result is a first-rate jazz vocal talent.

     Tuzzolino was superbly aided by Capp and Most, their easygoing connectivity the product of having spent a great deal of time working together while thoroughly enjoying the process.

     But the evening belonged to Tuzzolino, his effectiveness as a performer reflected in the club being jammed with listeners for his opening set---an astonishing turnout for a Monday night.  And the only question about his splendid singing and playing was how long it will take for Tuzzolino to receive the breakout attention his talent so clearly deserves.

 

DON HECKMAN - LA TIMES (Jan 3, 2011)

What can I say about Patrick Tuzzolino as a musician?

Renaissance Man are the words that come to mind.

I see him as a very sleek performer, sexy, gorgeous lush tone to his voice.

Now the interesting thing you will come to find if you go to hear Patrick even if he is playing with other musicians is that: Patrick is the band. Patrick is the whole deal.

Meaning he doesn't need a bass player because his left hand can move the music, support the music as well as any bass player.

Musicians are messenger of sound, tone, rhythm and emotions. Patrick has a deep soul.

He is a genuine human being.He is not about glitz, glamour or hype. So I guess what I am talking about here is more than music. I see, feel, hear more than the  music because what I see, hear, feel when he performs is his soul. And that happens because he invites you in. His comittment is 1,000 percent So it's all relative, I mean everything is just a matter of opinion, it's all a matter of taste.

With Patrick there is so much but there is no waste. Patrick's energy is full on. If music is rhythm Patrick doesn't have great rhythm and timing he is rhythm.

If it's about being on key his voice is rich and melodious. He accesses the message of the song and communicates it as Patrick would be.

All that and more what I see is his joy, I hear his love, I witness his anguish and his pain and then I want to hear again and again each song now becomes a haunting refrain.

He's an inspiration. He is unique. he is someone you want to hear again and again and again.

 

FAN (Dec 22, 2010)

JAZZ SCENE [from L.A. Times, April 2013]

PAT TUZZOLINO TRIO at Vibrato

Myrna Daniels

 

            Pat Tuzzolino was such a dynamic singer/pianist that he could fill Charlie O’s every Monday night for several years.  Charlie’ O’s closed some time ago and Tuzzolino moved to the Palm Spring area.  This appearance at Vibrato was a rare visit to L.A.  The trio format is perfect for him; he was accompanied by bob McChesney on trombone and drummer Billy Paul.  Vibrato was filling up with diners and the evening had a relaxed vibe.

            The trio eased into the evening with a nice balance, “How Long Has This Been Going On?” “Slow Boat to China” was a good example of the trio’s versatility.  Paul was churning out a peaceful, yet swinging rhythm as McChesney’s burnished tones from the t-bone added greatly to Tuzzolino’s laid back space.  He’s got a spot-on hipster’s voice, singular phrasing and he scats like crazy.  McChesney got busy on “Green Dolphin Street,” as Tuzzolino’s piano and key-bass combo and Paul’s steady, crisp drumming gave him tremendous support.  Tuzzolino’s warm and enticing voice was perfect for “A Nightingale Sang on Berkley Square.”  His deep tones are so effective on romantic tunes.  McChesney’s solo was evocative and beautifully played.  “It Might As Well Be Spring” was a riot; the trio was hot and sounded like a much bigger group.  Tuzzolino got into his hyper-scatting mode that must be heard to be believed.  He’s got a skill that is unique.  There’s just no one like him.  To loud and steady applause, the trio took a short break.

            Tuzzolino began the second set with “Night and Day” at a slow pace before he did his snazzy vocalizing.  Tuzzolino improvises on every tune, so he presents a slightly different version every time he sings a particular tune. Other tunes include “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” a poignant and dramatic “angel Eyes” with Paul using brushes with finesse.  McChesney added highlights and fine solos on every tune.  He got into high gear on a fast and furious “I’ll Remember April.”  Paul used his stick to tap the edge of his drum and cymbals at an electric pace, like a ticking clock run amok.  A drum solo followed, which was controlled and loud, yet effective, as Tuzzolino wickedly wrapped up the tune.  Other gems included “Song For You,” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “Moonlight in Vermont” and a super-fast “Line For Lyons” with dazzling scatting.  The last tune was Steve Allen’s snappy gem “This Could Be The Start of Something Big.”  A big tune for a big finish.  Allen’s lyrics sound as hip today as when he wrote them a long time ago.  Paul took off and McChesney went for one more fast, fast solo as Tuzzolino pounded on the piano and his key bass.  It was wild, bad ass good.  McChesney played notes and Tuzzolino followed him vocally, imitating his sounds like a wild man, pounding the piano, then it all stops on a dime!

            Some people are born to do a certain thing.  No matter what else they do, one key thing becomes obvious.  Pat Tuzzolino was born to sing and play piano in exactly this way.  He has a singular, distinctive voice and style.  He should be seen and heard by anyone who loves exciting, top notch jazz.

            Vibrato is a great place for music, with its roomy stage, and good sound and lighting.  The audience circles the room, at booths and tables and the bar, with all attention focused on the stage.  The menu is varied, with beef, chicken and fish entrees, all prepared with care.  The baked potato, as a side dish, could feed a small family (just kidding).  There are delicious salads and appetizers plus desserts.  A full bar and large wine selection are available.  The food has a fresh, distinctive appeal and the service was excellent.  Vibrato has some of the best jazz musicians and singers in L.A. performing on regular basis every month.  Check their website for a current calendar.

MYRNA DANIELS - LA JAZZ SCENE APRIL 2013 (Apr 12, 2013)