If this session were to be described in just one word, that would be "Power." Hard-bop specialists Mads Vinding and Alex Riel have both recorded with Dexter Gordon and have each played powerful, yet straight-ahead jazz for over thirty years. Drummer Riel has worked with hard bop leaders such as Jackie McLean, Michael Brecker, Kenny Drew, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Bassist Vinding, similarly, has worked with Johnny Griffin, Ed Thigpen, the Ernie Wilkins big band, and Duke Jordan. The third member of the trio, pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, with nine releases as a leader, works, as do the others, in a hard bop-vein. It would seem quite unnecessary to mention credentials like this if the artists lived in New York City or recorded with a major U.S. label; but Vinding and Riel are from Copenhagen and Pieranunzi is from Italy. Hence, their reputation may not have preceded them.
Working out on standards such as "Someday My Prince Will Come," "I Remember Clifford" and "My Foolish Heart" the trio works together with solo space being offered each. As a unit they deliver rhythmic interplay and blend their voices. As soloists, they show different characteristics: Pieranunzi is romantic, with lush harmonies, Riel is powerful with an advanced technique, and Vinding is in the middle, waxing lyrical one moment, and scraping or slapping the strings the next. The title tune, "The Kingdom (Where Nobody Dies)," is a dreamy ballad about childhood, with Riel using brushes and both Vinding and Pieranunzi sharing the melody. Richard Rodgers' "Lover" is performed at blinding speed, yet piano and bass are able to articulate the running lines excellently. Five of Pieranunzi's compositions appear on the session, and each shows his unique talent; although remaining in the straight-ahead hard bop realm, each piece is derived from romanticism. "Somewhere (There's A Place For Us)" from West Side Story is performed as a ballad with Vinding's bass as the lead voice. Showing his manner of delivering a melody perfectly, and elsewhere driving the trio to fiery outbursts, Vinding shows the world that hard bop Jazz exists in Europe and other world centers besides New York City. Highly recommended.
To listen to few samples from "The Kingdom," visit Mads' Web site .
Track Listing: Alba Prima, Lover, The Kingdom, Someday my Prince will come, My Foolish Heart, Somewhere, New Lands, Autumn Song, September Waltz, Interlude no. 948, I remember Clifford