The trio reunion of Enrico Pieranunzi, Marc Johnson, and Joey Baron to play the music of film composer Ennio Morricone serves as a very modern reminder of pianist Bill Evans' classic trio.
Pieranunzi, certainly a follower of the “Evans sound,” tosses in a healthy dose of Wynton Kelly for good measure. His prior recordings with Johnson and Baron, New Lands (Timeless 1984) and Deep Down (Soul Note 1987) are well worth searching out.
Like the previous outings, this session has a gentle-natured quality about it. Maybe it’s the lineup of Johnson, Bill Evans' longtime bassist, and Baron, who like Johnson has worked with guitarist Pat Martino, that makes this session click. Maybe it’s the material. Ennio Morricone has scored over 500 films in his career, from spaghetti westerns and Cinema Paradiso to films by Brian DePalma, Oliver Stone, and Roman Polanski. Drummer Joey Baron played on John Zorn's Morricone tribute, The Big Gundown.
Pieranunzi allows each track to develop with a measured calmness, and he shares the simplicity of each composition with his bandmates. Joey Baron, a master of accent, shifts the pulse and works the cymbals to subtly highlight the music. There are no dissonant chords or cacophonous notes here. Johnson reprises his Evans role to great affect; his bass is welcome far beyond its role as a simple timekeeper. His playing looms large throughout. A beautiful recording.