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Reviews of records by Pierogi Pizza and John Petrucelli Quintet

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Pierogi Pizza
Smoke
(Self-released)
www.facebook.com/pierogipizza

In the opening track, “Please Show Me How,” Jody Perigo (a.k.a.  Jody Pierogi) asks, “What does it take for a guy like you to fall in love with a girl like me?” It’s the first of several self-deprecating, old-timey torch songs which would be sugary enough to require a toothbrush, if there wasn’t also a salty quality to Perigo’s stanch sincerity. Alternating between folky multi-instrumental rockers and stripped-down ukulele tunes, Perigo (who some will know from her time in Great Ants) is at her best when she’s more idiosyncratic than cute. “Self Conscious” brings to mind the odd song structures of Joanna Newsom (minus Newsom’s divisive vocals), and the harmony-rich standout “Numbers” would be at home on a Roches record. Margaret Welsh

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John Petrucelli Quintet
The Way
(Self-released)
www.johnpetrucellisax.com

A doctoral student at Pitt whose résumé already includes time with Delfayo Marsalis (Wynton’s trombone-playing brother), tenor saxophonist John Petruccelli occasionally pops up at the Space Exchange series at Thunderbird Café, where he isn’t afraid to go off on a wild tangent if the situation welcomes it. The Way takes a more mainstream direction, with a group that, on a few tracks, includes veteran drummer Victor Lewis. A two-disc debut makes an ambitious statement, but Petrucelli has a lot to offer: inventive originals and a couple standards, all with rhythmic adventure. As a result of this approach, his solos can breathe fire and rise above the gentle surroundings. Extra points too for his take on “Gallop’s Gallop,” one of Thelonious Monk’s rarest tunes. Mike Shanley


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