the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Saddle River NJ, Bucky Pizzarelli, the legendary jazz and pop guitarist who was a lifelong New Jersey resident and a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame has died at the age of 94.
Pizzarelli was a longtime mainstay of the state’s music ,playing in the Village at the Kasschau Bandshell and the Ridgewood Art Institute on many a summers evenings .His afternoon sets were highlights of the Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival but he was also world-renowned for his smooth, fluid, tasteful playing. He performed at the White House for presidents Reagan and Clinton, and in Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” band, and worked with Frank Sinatra, Les Paul, Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole and countless others.
As a session musician, he played on hits ranging from Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” to Bryan Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” and he also performed on Paul McCartney’s 2012 standards album, Kisses on the Bottom.
In recent years he has been battling several serious health problem in recent years. His cause of death was not immediately announced.
Pizzarelli was born in Paterson as John Pizzarelli .Nicknamed Bucky by his father.Served in the army during World War II. After the war, he became a professional musician and moved with his wife, Ruth, to Clifton and then Saddle River.