Enrico Pieranunzi

Don't Forget the Poet

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Heard in solo and trio sessions prior, here's a quintet recording for pianist/composer Pieranunzi that reflects the Euro-landscape ECM sound so familiar to fans of Keith Jarrett, but especially to Kenny Wheeler enthusiasts. Bert Joris on trumpet and flugelhorn is largely responsible for this sound, but saxophonist Stefano d'Anna mixes and matches every brassy move with his own serene musings. Bassist Hein Van de Geyn is more present as the producer of the date than as a bassist, while drummer Hans von Oosterhout rounds out this rather together ensemble. Of these 11 pieces penned by the leader, two are influenced by samba. Wheeler's lyricism with d'Anna's soprano identifies "Persona," and a hotter rhythm sets up a repeated simple-song motif with d'Anna's tenor on "Child of the Real & Ideal." There are several waltzes: the sweet "Coralie" perfectly marries tenor and flugelhorn; "Time's Passage" goes more soulful and slightly contemplative; "A Nameless Gate" is easygoing and most Wheeler-like; and "Hindsight" has "Cry Me a River" underpinnings. The best swinger is the boppish "Newsbreak" with distinct but loose bass inferences. Joris really shines as an individualist on flugelhorn for the ballad "With a Song in My Heart," as well as on trumpet for the two-note accents and slightly overblown solo during "It Speaks for Itself." Most reflective of its name, the true-tone poem title track sports gossamer-thin, fragile thematic segments, mostly in a processional 6/8. The finale "Seaward" is deeper with minimalist piano, impressionistic soaring horns and bass, and the most European/ECM-like stance. This music no doubt emphasizes beauty over swing and tonal lyricism over blues connotations. It compacts improvisation within a natural, wooden framework, and overall, amounts to quite a pleasant effort.

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