This six disc anthology features the very best of The Beatles in the studio, on the road and on the airwaves from 1962-'66. It is the perfect illustration of how The Beatles evolved as writers and performers and created a musical phenomenon which has never been equalled.
Connie Evingson isn't the first person to provide a vocal jazz tribute to the Beatles; over the years, everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Czech singer Peter Lipa has interpreted the John Lennon/Paul McCartney songbook. But Let It Be Jazz, the Minneapolis resident's fifth album, is among the more creatively successful..
Beatles fans love to explain that the key to the successful partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was their contrasting songwriting personalities – Lennon was the tongue in cheek sardonic wit, McCartney the earnest balladeer. On John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, a sharply conceived tribute which sets the duo's classics in a jazz trio with big-band arrangements, the singer/guitarist hits the mark more often when he's taking on the Lennon persona. He approaches "Cant' Buy Me Love," "When I'm 64," and "Get Back" with a playful wink, jumping off his speedy melody lines and the rising brass sections for extended improvisational tradeoffs with pianist Ray Kennedy, and adding colorful touches like scatting and even ad libbing his own lyrical verses based on the originals. Likewise, he attacks the all-instrumental "Eleanor Rigby" with a jumpy, swinging aggression. Pizzarelli, however, becomes overly schmaltzy in presenting ballads like "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Long and Winding Road" too seriously, with maudlin, straightforward arrangements that grind the party to a halt. The one exception is the more percussive "Oh Darling," where his intense vocal helps the tune rise above the hotel lounge mentality.