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Return Engagement

One of the most versatile vocalists and guitar players in the world finally comes back to Chicago—and he plans to make up for lost time.

John Pizzarelli, multitalented descendent of jazz royalty, is slated to appear at City Winery. 


Given how singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli’s world-renowned, understated throwback style seems a perfect fit for Chicago, it’s surprising that he hasn’t played the city proper in more than 20 years. He hasn’t completely neglected our area—regular shows at Ravinia and SPACE in Evanston (“the Brooklyn of Chicago,” he jokes) have allowed him to make friends and “get to know the city better,” and he speaks fondly of Gene & Georgetti and Green Mill—but still.

He’ll remedy the absence at City Winery Sept. 19 with a jazz trio whose versatility should erase all memory of his time away. Over the years, Pizzarelli has released more than 25 records, expanding his repertoire to cover the music of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Antônio Carlos Jobim and The Beatles. Even Sir Paul counts himself a fan: “You made a Beatles cover record,” McCartney said during a recent recording session. “It’s very good!” When McCartney wanted someone to reinterpret some of his post-Beatles songs, he reached out directly to Pizzarelli.

So what can the Chicago audience expect? “Since I haven’t played City Winery before, there’ll be a lot of things we can mix up,” Pizzarelli says. “Some bossa from the Sinatra-Jobim record… some Duke Ellington… sometimes we hit on some McCartney tunes if it feels like the right thing. A little bit of everything.”

That’s good because, after 20 years, we’ve got some catching up to do. 8pm, tickets $28-$42, 1200 W. Randolph St.,