397

Enrico Pieranunzi: FelliniJazz

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Enrico Pieranunzi: FelliniJazz Despite a clear understanding of the jazz tradition that pervades everything he touches, Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi cannot escape his own ethnic roots. On albums as diverse as his pensive duet album with bassist Marc Johnson, Trasnoche (EGEA, 2003), and the chamber jazz of Les Amants (EGEA, 2004), Pieranunzi's impressionistic improvisational style marries comfortably with a certain indescribable Mediterranean sensibility. One can't exactly place one's finger on it, but there's always a hint of warm breeze or the sense of walking down a boulevard surrounded by centuries-old architecture. There's a feeling of history absent from the relative youth of North American styles.

And as visual as Pieranunzi's own writing is, when he approaches the film music of Frederico Fellini, as he does on FelliniJazz , his impressions become even more vivid. This should come as no surprise, given most of Fellini's scores were written by Nino Rota, a composer whose sense of style elevated his music beyond mere accompaniment, creating a legacy of themes so memorable that hearing but a few notes is sufficient to recall the films with which they are associated.

For this session Pieranunzi has gathered a group of musicians, strong leaders all, who imbue the music with distinct personality but also with an equal degree of surrender. Drummer Paul Motian is ever the colourist, yet here he defines the time more explicitly than is his habit, swinging gently on "La Dolce Vita" and contributing an oddly elegant military march to the waltz of "La Strada." Bassist Charlie Haden, like Motian, is more direct, with a softer, suppler tone than usual.

And while the emphasis is clearly on lyricism, the ensemble has its moments of abandon. Four-and-a-half minutes into "La Strada," the tempo picks up and then disintegrates into a free-for-all with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and saxophonist Chris Potter jousting abstractly with Pieranunzi, until the tune finally dissolves into "La Notti Cabiria," which starts as an outré kind of boogie woogie before settling into a half-time swing where Potter delivers a tenor solo that cleverly matches history with innovation. Wheeler's characteristic sense of melancholy seems notably absent from the entire set, and his atypical muted trumpet tone on the tango of "Amarcord," while less piercing and containing a number of signature intervallic leaps, displays a surprisingly close reference to Miles Davis.

While Rota's music dominates, the rubato treatment of Luis Bacalov's "La Città Delle Donne," a trio feature for Pieranunzi, Potter, and Motian that presages their work on Doorways , feels more like a purely Motian treatment—all colour and texture while retaining the skewed sexuality of the original score. And Pieranunzi contributes two tracks that, evocative and provocative, fit perfectly within the sometimes visceral and often oddly humorous Fellini universe.

FelliniJazz stands as a fitting tribute to music that was instrumental in defining rather than merely supporting Fellini's films, and Pieranunzi's reverent yet adventurous ensemble demonstrates just how well the music stands on its own merits.


Track Listing: I Vitelloni; Il Bidone, Il Bidone; La Citta Delle Donne; Amarcord; Cabiria's Dream; La Dolce Vita; La Dolce Vita; La Strada; Le Notti Di Cabiria; Fellini's Waltz

Personnel: Kenny Wheeler: trumpet, flugelhorn; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Enrico Pieranunzi: piano; Charlie Haden: bass; Paul Motian: drums

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: CAM Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "And the Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review And the Rhythm Serenaders
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "District 6" CD/LP/Track Review District 6
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Chapters Of My Life" CD/LP/Track Review Chapters Of My Life
by James Nadal
Published: March 16, 2016
Read "Jambú" CD/LP/Track Review Jambú
by Joe Gatto
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Live In New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live In New York
by John Sharpe
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 28, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!