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Enrico Pieranunzi/Paul Motian: Doorways (2005)

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Enrico Pieranunzi/Paul Motian: Doorways No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

A duly celebrated Italian pianist with other recent issues to his name, Enrico Pieranunzi stakes a claim for attention at once in the opening track of Doorways with just Paul Motian's drums in support. As a composer he's fine, but on the whole he doesn't do his own work justice here. "Double Existence I" is well-structured but lacks the satisfying ending of "Double Existence II," which is itself structurally weak. There's a lack of concentration.

Overall the music's edgy, especially on Chris Potter's three appearances. His solo on the title piece improves after an "I Got Rhythm" quote some way through. He's missing something, and below his best.

"No Waltz for Paul" features dark, intense, even downright dour piano, too unrelievedly the norm on much here. The tune's dedicatee (Motian) does however keep things moving behind and between piano passages. "Utre" is an interesting composition in a performance too short and too perfunctory. The pianist sounds as if he's just rehearsing, and little happens.

When "Blue Evening" suddenly and quietly demonstrates a talent for rendering pianistic colour, earlier drab passages seem more disappointing, and puzzling. "Anecdote," with Potter again, has an interesting extended theme and a weird surging effect like the sound of a tape being played backwards, or very fast. Again, not enough is made of this. "Suspension Points" initially sounds a bit like an Ellington composition, it's the best thing since the opener, slightly marred by Motian's champing at the bit, distractingly, behind.

"Double Excursion III" has Motian usefully to the fore and the pianist fitting in Bartokian passages. "Words of the Sea" suggests indecision between jazz and European written music; the piano's expression isn't focused. "The Shifting Scene" has a title too appropriate to the whole. Potter's almost to the end unyielding sharp-edged tone is just clumsy with "The Heart of a Child," but the piano accompaniment is remarkable, full and moving. On the whole this is a disappointment. Everybody here can do much better.

Track Listing: Double Excursion 1; Double Excursion 2; Doorways; No Waltz For Paul; Utre; Blue Evening; Anecdote; Suspension Points; Double Excursion 3; Words Of The Sea; The Shifting Scene; The Heart Of A Child; Utre (alternative version).

Personnel: Enrico Pieranunzi, piano; Paul Motian, drums; Chris Potter, saxophones on "Doorways", "Anecdote" and "The Heart Of A Child."

Record Label: CAM Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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