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A giant of jazz: The Buck stops here

Jazz guitar great John Pizzarelli has visited Savannah several times over the past few years; this week, we get to hear his father, the legendary Bucky Pizzarelli, 86 years young and still the king. They call Bucky the Dean of Jazz Guitar.

Along with bassist Ben Tucker and Savannah resident Howard Paul (another exemplary jazz guitarist), Pizzarelli has four shows in the neighborhood, with an all–Johnny Mercer program (this is Mercer’s birthday week).

Closest to home is a show at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 in the ballroom of the Westin Harbor Resort, sponsored by the Coastal Jazz Association, which counts Tucker and Paul among its upper–echelon members.

Nov. 9 and 10, Friday and Saturday, the swingin’ trio will do their Hey–Johnny set at the Jazz Corner in Hilton Head.

In his long and storied career, Bucky Pizzarelli has performed with a who’s–who of jazz legends including Benny Goodman, Stephane Grappelli and fellow guitar great Les Paul.

Pizzarelli plays a custom seven–string guitar made by Benedetto (it’s the “Bucky Pizzarelli Signature Model,” of course). The company is based right here in Savannah, and Howard Paul is President and CEO.

Sunday’s show is free for CJA members, $10 for everyone else.

The boys are back

Friday, Nov. 9: The irrepressible Two Man Gentlemen Band returns to Live Wire Music Hall for the semi–annual celebration of all things swinging, retro and not a little left–of–center funny.

Andy Bean has a jazzman’s guitar style, sort of Django Reinhardt–meets–Rudy Vallee, and he and standup bassman Fuller Condon put on a high–energy show packed with lightning–fast lyrics, off the wall harmonies and the most vaudevillian fun you can have in the year 2012. Wrote some wag: “It’s as if the Smothers Brothers were young today, wore better suits, and wrote hot jazz songs about drinking.”

The guys have a new album out, their seventh, the Kickstarter–funded Two at a Time.

It’s the total experience. But don’t take my word for it. See to hear (and see) for yourself.

New electronica

Savannah DJ/producer Troy Stoner has designs on starting a electronica series in town; his first show happens Nov. 10 at Dosha, with the Asheville twosome Aligning Minds, plus several local DJs spinning “proper house music.”

The time is right for Sanctum/Electronic Low Country.

“I think there are some quality musicians and DJs, as well as a good audience for that music,” Stoner explains. “I went to an RJD2 show two years ago at Live Wire, and the place was packed. And Emancipator, who plays a similar kind of music. I really think there are plenty of kids who are into this, but who don’t know about it.

“I think dubstep is beginning to run its course and hopefully die sooner than later. So the alternative electronic music acts could make a real big push in Savannah. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a movement, per se — that would be awesome if it had that much momentum — but we’re definitely trying to at least get the ball moving in the proper direction.”

Stoner is talking about real electronic–based music, not your run of the bill indie band that works a synthesizer into the sound. “Savannah Stopover had a couple of good ones,” he says. “It seems like the market is here; it’s just a matter of synching up the acts with the audience.”

His model is the Atlanta electronic collective Wiggle Factor. “They bring in a very big headliner DJ and throw a party like every other month,” Stoner explains. “So we want to mimic said format, like every two months or so. Bring in a headliner, and get some local talent to open up for them.”

The Dosha show (starting at 9 p.m.) will include ILMLI, Search + Escape and Rob Holliday.

Coincidentally or not, electro-pioneer Bitch Please is back at Live Wire this week (Nov. 8).

This week also

• Don’t forget the Nov. 8 performance from Needtobreathe in the Johnny Mercer Theatre. The South Carolina rockers have had their greatest success in Christian circles, although the 2011 album The Reckoning reached No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 200 (no small feat). At the 7:30 show, they’ll be supported by Good Old War and Matthew Mayfield.

• Hardcore heroes Manray are back at the Jinx Nov. 8, with Bronzed Chorus and Self Evident. The very next night, it’s burlesque time at the club with the Cutthroat Freakshow, with the Arkhams and Tigerkiss and loads of freaky extras.

• At the Wormhole Nov. 9: The Bonhannons, an in–your–face Tennessee band that blends Southern boogie with punk ferocity. Said one reviewer of the band’s Unaka Rising: “The sound here is anything but predictable. Yes, there are blues licks and high, lonesome, twangy sounds like the best of bluegrass, but there is also violently raucous guitar, emotionally charged vocals, more than a touch of metal, and above all else, rock ‘n’ roll.”

• Big shows Tuesday, Nov. 13: The insanely innovative electronica/rock ensemble Jimkata returns to Live Wire Music Hall, with Big Something. And the “texture–pop” duo Daymoths is at the Wormhole, with Savannah’s own Electric Grandma and Sunglow.