Enrico Pieranunzi

As Never Before

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Enrico Pieranunzi has worked on an occasional basis with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron since the early 1980s. These 2004 sessions add trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler, a perfect choice for this tightly knit group. Pieranunzi has long been one of the top jazz pianists in Europe with a gift for lyricism, whileJohnson and Baron have been a part of many important recordings as well as leading compelling CDs of their own. The primary focus is on the pianist's thoughtful originals. Several of the songs have a melancholy air, starting with the introspective opener, featuring Pieranunzi's Latin undercurrent with Wheeler's emotional open trumpet. "Song for Kenny," presumably dedicated to the trumpeter, is a midtempo bossa nova showcasing Wheeler on flugelhorn. Wheeler adds a mute for the haunting ballad "Improheart" (one of two works credited to the entire group), a powerful piece that conveys its mood without lyrics: "Impromind," the other group improvisation, is a bit more abstract yet very accessible. The trio always make beautiful music when they have a chance to work together, and the presence of Kenny Wheeler proves to be an inspired decision.

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