Enrico Pieranunzi/Jasper Somsen/Jorge Rossy – Common View(Challenge CR73459. CD review by Mike Collins)
Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi is a giant of European jazz. He began playing and recording with bass player Jasper Somsen after the Dutchman had recorded an album devoted to Pieranunzi’s singular compositions. London Jazz News caught them back in 2016, in trio at Ronnie Scott’s (review here) on one of Pieranunzi’s all too rare visits to London. Common View is their first studio recording after two releases of live performances, and for this session they have joined forces with the peerless Jorge Rossy on drums.
The equal billing of the three reflects the balance of writing credits for the eleven originals. Falling from the Sky opens the set with rich chords and understated, breezy momentum, the theme punctuated by cascading lines that are doubled by the Pieranunzi left hand and Somsen’s fluid and resonant bass. Love Waiting Endlessly is an elegant waltz and this and the opener are Somsen compositions, both giving full rein to the dense and rich harmonic language that is such a characteristic of the pianist’s sound. Pieranunzi’s own contributions are varied. The intensely rhythmic Turn in the Path builds on churning chords and mazy patterns, tossing in familiar melodic fragments to be mashed up by surging improvisation. Perspectives sounds like it could be a re-working of ‘How High the Moon’ in places, launching a swirling, fluent episode from the piano. Song for an August Evening is a delicate, latin-flavoured piece with a distilled romantic melody given wings by singing bass solo. Rossy’s Sofa is a playful cat and mouse of scampering clusters and stabbed chords, while Who knows about tomorrow flows easily, shifting cadences injecting momentum and anticipation.
Pieranunzi’s energy and touch, blending rhythmic variety with that shifting and fluent way with harmony, means he has forged a sound that is almost instantly recognisable and it is central to this recording. Somsen and Rossy bring special qualities too. Rossy is never obtrusive, but he seems to have a way of commenting on rhythms or burnishing accents that makes the music glow. This is a meeting of musical minds and a high quality treat.
Mike Collins is a pianist and writer based in Bath, who runs the jazzyblogman site. Twitter @jazzyblogman