I’ve had many discussions with Enrico Pieranunzi, but one of the most memorable involved a reminiscence of Lee Konitz. The pianist recalled: “One time, just before going onstage, he said to us, me and the bassist and the drummer: ‘Okay guys, you ready to really improvise?’ We were kind of shaken by that. We felt very free, even to play the wrong notes, to go everywhere.” It’s important to remember that Pieranunzi, while apparently an exponent of lyrical beauty and perfection, is also an advocate of freedom.
The Italian pianist has worked with such luminaries as film composer Ennio Morricone, and jazz instrumentalists Chet Baker and Charlie Haden. A deep romanticism lies at the heart of his music. Here he appears with French drummer André Ceccarelli and Danish bassist Thomas Fonnesbæk – a formidable bassist with a remarkable technique. Pieranunzi first played with him at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2015, and he’s been a regular partner since then.
The 10 tracks comprise nine originals – eight by the pianist and one by the bassist – plus Kurt Weill’s This Is New. Those Days and Something Tomorrow were written for this session. But the most beautiful composition, I think, is Suspension Points, played in a slow, ad-lib tempo, with washes of cymbals from Ceccarelli. Je Ne Sais Quoi is familiar to me from several albums, including Seaward, a trio album on Soul Note that featured Ceccarelli.
This is such a superb trio album that it’s making me reconsider my long-held view – following intensive listening to the marvellous solo album Parisian Portraits – that Pieranunzi is at his best in a solo setting. Nothing here outstays its welcome – in fact, with the album lasting 45 minutes, I’m left wishing for more. It’s a delightful release that shows the great pianist still at the top of his game.
Those Days; Perspectives; Wave Of Interest; The Heart Of A Child; Something Tomorrow; What Once Was; Three Notes; Suspension Points; Je Ne Sais Quoi; This Is New (45.09)
Pieranunzi (p); Thomas Fonnesbæk (b); André Ceccarelli (d). Copenhagen, 5-6 September 2021.