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Enrico Pieranunzi & Bert Joris: Afterglow

Chris May By

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Enrico Pieranunzi & Bert Joris: Afterglow
Enrico Pieranunzi is a multidimensional pianist and composer, but when he is in mellow mood he can remind one of the late, great Henry Mancini—and it is not just his Italian heritage. Pieranunzi is a classically trained jazz musician, whereas Mancini was a jazz trained soundtrack composer with a heaven-sent gift for writing great tunes, "Moon River" and "Baby Elephant Walk" among them. Pieranunzi, too, can write melodies which are lovely and catchy. Like Mancini, he also brings a cinematic quality to his work—a side effect, perhaps, of his time as one of Ennio Morricone's regular session musicians—and has, in fact, written soundtracks for several movies himself as well as recording homage albums to Morricone and the director Federico Fellini. This mise en scène shines through the balladic miniatures on Afterglow, Pieranunzi's duo album with the Belgian trumpeter, composer and arranger Bert Joris.

This is not the first time Pieranunzi and Joris have collaborated. They previously got together, with the fifteen-piece Brussels Jazz Orchestra, to make The Music Of Enrico Pieranunzi (W.E.R.F., 2015), for which Joris arranged eight Pieranunzi originals. Pieranunzi played piano on the disc and Joris took all the trumpet solos. The album was well received and the aptly named Afterglow, recorded in late 2018, is a spin-off.

Melodism is to the fore on Afterglow, including on the relatively abstract "Five Plus Five" and "Freelude." Most of the pieces were written by Pieranunzi, with just two by Joris. Arrangements are skeletal; themes are stated, brief solos or contrapuntal passages follow, themes are restated; and production is minimal, too. In the liner notes, producer Jasper Somsen writes that the only thing he and engineer Floren Van Stitchel felt they needed to do was "listen. We simply guarded the process."

Less is often more, and Afterglow is a good example of that. Strong tunes, burnished performances, clean audio quality. A feelgood album with which to approach the new year.

Track Listing

Siren’s Lounge; Afterglow; Millie; Cradle Song For Mattia; Five Plus Five; Anne April Sang; Freelude; What’s What; How Could We Forget; Not Found; The Real You.

Personnel

Enrico Pieranunzi: piano; Bert Joris: trumpet.

Album information

Title: Afterglow | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Challenge Records

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