Enrico Pieranunzi/Bert Joris with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band – Chet Remembered (Challenge Records CR7 3555. Album review by Frank Griffith)
Italian pianist and composer Enrico Pieranunzi recently released a new album with a large ensemble, titled “Chet Remembered,” under Challenge Records. Collaborating with Belgian trumpeter/arranger Bert Joris and the renowned Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Enrico presents nine of his compositions dedicated to the legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.
The Inspiration: Chet Baker
Chet Baker, described by Pieranunzi as “one of the purest talents in the history of jazz,” greatly inspired the pianist. Having first met Baker in 1979, Pieranunzi would tour and record with him until the trumpeter’s untimely passing in 1988 at the age of 58.
The tracks on “Chet Remembered” include pieces that Pieranunzi composed to play with Chet at the time, such as “Fairy Flowers,” “Night Bird,” “Brown Cat Dance,” and “Echoes.” Each of these pieces displays a variety of colors, rhythmic grooves, and meters. Pieranunzi and Joris’ lyrical trumpet handle most of the solo work, while other band members contribute impressive solos as well.
- Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn: The alto saxophonist delivers a passionate solo performance on “Echoes.”
- Hans Glawischnig: The bassist’s intricate pizzicato plucks delight listeners on “Chet.”
- Christian Jaksjø: The trombonist, along with Steffen Weber (tenor saxophone) and another of Sauerborn’s alto sax endeavors, showcases his improvisational skills on “Night Bird.”
Bert Joris: The Arranger
Special recognition goes to arranger Bert Joris for his ability to work with the melodic cells of the compositions, producing unpredictable rhythmical and linear developments. Joris’ talent for utilizing the full range of colors and textures available in a large ensemble elevates Pieranunzi’s compositions and Chet’s legacy to new heights.
Joris’ trumpet playing has been featured alongside esteemed musicians such as Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Marc Johnson, Jimmy Cobb, and Joe Lovano. Additionally, he has written for the Metropole Orchestra, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and the Brussels Philharmonic.
A Memorable Album
“Chet Remembered” is bound to become a memorable album for fans of lyrical yet powerful piano interpretations and exceptional large ensemble performances. The collaboration between Pieranunzi and Joris results in an inspiring and pivotal musical offering.
Upcoming Performance by Frank Griffith
Frank Griffith, a Liverpool-based saxophonist and clarinettist, will be performing a concert at the Bridport Arts Centre on October 7, 2023, titled “Benny Vibes Again.” The concert will feature the music of Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton.