Enrico Pieranunzi/Bert Joris with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band – Chet Remembered”
(Challenge Records CR7 3555. Album review by Frank Griffth)
Italian pianist and composer Enrico Pieranunzi, has just released another CD with large ensemble for Challenge Records – Chet Remembered. Teamed up with Belgian trumpeter/arranger, Bert Joris and the exemplary Frankfurt Radio Big Band they weave together a moving and impressive cast of Enrico’s nine pieces dedicated to the great Chet Baker, “one of the purest talents in the history of jazz”, as Pieranunzi describes the trumpeter.
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Pieranunzi first met Baker in 1979 and would tour and record with him until the trumpeter’s untimely passing in 1988 at the age of 58. The tunes here include titles written by Pieranunzi to play with Chet at the time, like Fairy Flowers, Night Bird, Brown Cat Dance and Echoes, all of which vary in colour, rhythmic grooves and metres. The bulk of the solo chores are handled impressively between Pieranunzi and Joris’ lyrical trumpet. Soloists from the band make impressive contributions too: alto saxophonist, Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn has a burning solo outing on Echoes. Similarly, bassist Hans Glawischnig ’s pesky pizzicato plucks delights memorably on Chet. Night Bird also showcases the improvisational gifts of Christian Jaksjø‘s trombone, tenor saxophonist, Steffen Weber as well as another of Sauerborn’s alto sax endeavours, this time sweet and fleet.
Special plaudits are due for arranger Joris, with his ability to work with the melodic cells of the pieces, producing unpredictable rhythmical and linear developments. In addition, his ability to exploit the palette of colours and textures at hand with a large ensemble catapults Pieranunzi’s pieces and Chet’s legacy to great heights. His trumpet playing has been featured with the likes of Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Marc Johnson, Jimmy Cobb and Joe Lovano. Not to mention his writing for the Metropole Orchestra, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Brussels Philharmonic. This rich and varied experience brings about a heroic effort in both performance and collaboration with Pieranunzi’s piano artistry and compositions. Chet Remembered will clearly remain a memorable disc for lovers of lyrical yet powerful piano interpretations as well as first rate and cutting edge large ensemble prowess. A truly pivotal and inspiring offering.
Frank Griffith is a Liverpool-based saxophonist and clarinettist. He will be performing a concert at the Bridport Arts Centre on 7 October 2023 entitled “Benny Vibes Again” the music of Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton.
LINKS: LJN’s previous coverage of Enrico Pieranunzi on Challenge
- Adrian Pallant’s review of Afterglow
- Mike Collin’s review of Common View
- Frank Griffith’s review of Blues and Bach