European jazz musicians don't always get the recognition they deserve worldwide. Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi has already proved himself on several earlier dates for Challenge and as a leader of the Space Jazz Trio, recording with such saxophone greats as Phil Woods and Lee Konitz. But this mostly quartet date with the Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, the Dutch bassist Hein Van de Geyn, and a token American, drummer Joe LaBarbera, focuses exclusively on a dozen time-tested standards from the Great American Songbook. Pieranunzi is a talented soloist, but seems just as happy sharing the solo space. Catherine is the primary focus of the sizzling opener, "Speak Low," and his mellow guitar is also prominent in the somewhat brisker than normal and slightly Latin-flavored take of "My Foolish Heart." Trumpeter Eric Vloeimans is added on three numbers, including a somewhat spacey "What Is This Thing Called Love?," a tantalizing "Alone Together," which features somewhat sparse accompaniment at times, and a foot-tapping samba version of "You Don't Know What Love Is." This very enjoyable session is easily recommended to fans of post-bop.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden