There may be an Italian jazz ensemble that has been together longer than Enten Eller, but certainly there's not one that is as innovative and expressive as this quartet. Founded some 25 years ago by guitarist Maurizio Brunod and drummer Massimo Barbiero, the group has maintained its lineup with trumpeter Alberto Mandarini and bassist Giovanni Maier for many years.
The quartet has expanded occasionally with the invitations to distinguished players such as Tim Berne heard on Melquiades (Splasc(h), 20010) and Auto Da Fé (Splasc(h), 2001). They even formed the Enten Eller Orkestra with a 15-piece string section, harp, voice and guest saxophonist Carlo Actis Dato and trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini for a grand performance documented on E(X)STINZIONE (Splasc(h), 2012).
This edition, Pietas (or Piety) is a live date from March 2014 and includes saxophonist/flutist Javier Girotto, who was also heard on Ecuba (Splasc(h), 2010).
It is a tribute to the quartet that they create seamless performances even with a guest artist. The music here draws from their varied interests. The opener, "L'abbandono" is a chamber jazz piece that grows organically from the first notes of Girotto's soprano saxophone and is wrapped into trumpet, bowed bass, then drums and guitar. The music is alternately beautiful and vulnerable. They sift to a sort of rocked-out improvisation on "Stinko Tango" complete with their seismic activity time shifts and Girotto drops samples of Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks." This varied program includes the "Ode To Morton Feldman" and their signature piece "Pragma." Pietas may be Enten Eller's finest recording.