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I was just sitting around wondering … got your spats on? That’d be aces, because I’m going to flap my gums a little about the spectacular jazz and pop program Radio Deluxe.

Hosted by the almost pathologically talented musical power couple John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey from their “Deluxe Living Room high atop Lexington Avenue” (during the COVID pandemic, they’ve been broadcasting from their Deluxe Cabin in upstate New York), each episode helps shake the blues away with an impeccable roster of songs yanked from a century of jazz and pop vocal recordings. There is just enough warm married-couple banter to half convince me that I’m sitting there in the Deluxe Living Room with them.

Think of them as to-the-nth-degree-cooler Donny and Marie (but married! It’s not weird!). She’s a little bit Broadway, he’s a little bit, er, jazz-n-roll. Each two-hour-ish episode (but WHAT IS TIME THESE DAYS?) is organized loosely around a theme (September Songs, Our Favorite Things, etc.) and each feels the precise opposite of how academic that sounds.

While both hosts are practically soaking in musical history (and John is a never-ending well of great jazz-world stories), it feels like they’re just flipping through their record collection and spontaneously playing favorite numbers with no plan whatsoever. It feels so improvised that sometimes you get three versions of the same song all in a row, just because John and Jess want to compare them. 

Some choices are usual-suspecty, heavy-duty famous (they go deep on Ella and Sondheim), some featured folks are newer on the scene and sure to open up a thousand rabbit holes, and some fall in between.  And here’s the great news, the big kicker, the cat’s meow (give it two episodes and you’ll talk like this too): You’re three hundred-plus episodes behind. That’s basically six hundred hours of music’s crème de la crème you’ve got ahead of you. Just try not to jazz-snap your fingerprints off.

PS New episodes are broadcast on good old-fashioned radio stations—but not nearly enough of them. Each week’s new episode is also posted weekly on the Radio Deluxe site, where you can find the aforementioned one billion hours of listening delight.

Radio Deluxe streams on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons on WQXR.
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About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • Love love love Radio Deluxe! Listen to it every Sunday evening in Minnesota.

  • This sounds fabulous! Thank you for talking about it.
    And isn’t John the son of Bucky? Good music is in his DNA, I’ll bet.

    • He is, and Bucky gets played quite a bit.

  • Wow—just went and looked at the site. It looks spectacular! Thanks.

  • Like Donnie and Marie — but married so it’s not weird!
    I’m still chuckling….

  • Here I am, with two weeks of vacation on my hands. This sounds exactly like what I need to listen to as I knit the hours away.

  • Radio Deluxe also streams via MixCloud (app).
    I’ve had the joy of seeing them perform once.

    John – w an assist from Jessica – do a live show on Thursdays called “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ at 6 pm EST on FB and Instagram. It’s an hour of delight. I believe the latest performance stays up for a week? You can even send in requests.

    There will be a show this Thursday at 6pm. It’s such a joy!

    All artists are having a rough time during this pandemic.
    At some point in each show John performs ‘You’ve got to be Carefully Taught’ by Rodgers and Hammerstein from South Pacific. Because.

  • Thanks! And love reading you here, DG!

  • I used to clap on one and three now I snap on two and four. (Since listening to Radio Deluxe…)

  • Thank you! Can’t wait to listen…as soon as I get in my walk around the park! Knitting awaits!

  • I love this show! Sometime in these past weird formless weeks, I started listening on Saturday afternoon/evenings (I’m in St. Paul/Minneapolis). Now I feel kind of like I have a Saturday evening night out to look forward to.

  • I love Radio Deluxe. I hear it Monday nights on Jazz FM here in Toronto.

  • This is so fun! Thanks for the tip.

  • I have been listening to Radio Deluxe for many years. It is broadcast on my local public radio station here on Sunday afternoons from 4:00-6:00. I look forward to it every week. It really makes my Sunday!!

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