Three of the greatest guitarists in New Jersey history are Les Paul, Tal Farlow and Bucky Pizzarelli. And at least one time — on Aug. 15, 1985 — they all shared the same stage. It was a one-night-only jazz supergroup: Paul, Farlow & Pizzarelli.
The occasion was a concert at the Nicholas Music Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick that was called “Jersey Jazz Guitars” and taped for a PBS special. (The Paterson-born Pizzarelli was the only Jersey native of the three, though Paul lived for much of his life in Mahwah, and Farlow was a longtime Sea Bright resident.)
Paul was then 70; Farlow, 64; and Pizzarelli, 59. (Farlow died in 1998 and Paul in 2009; Pizzarelli is still performing today, at 88.) The concert also featured Pizzarelli’s then-25-year-old son, singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli.
A video of the three, casually trading fast, fluid licks on the jazz standard “C Jam Blues,” is below.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.