Italian pianist and composer Enrico Pieranunzi collaborates with Belgian trumpeter and arranger Bert Joris and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band in their latest album, “Chet Remembered.” This release on Challenge Records (CR7 3555) pays tribute to the legendary Chet Baker, whom Pieranunzi describes as “one of the purest talents in the history of jazz.”
A Meeting with Chet Baker
Pieranunzi first met Baker in 1979 and continued to tour and record with him until Baker’s untimely death in 1988 at the age of 58. “Chet Remembered” features nine pieces dedicated to Baker, including tunes like “Fairy Flowers,” “Night Bird,” “Brown Cat Dance,” and “Echoes.” Each composition showcases a variety of colors, rhythmic grooves, and meters.
Impressive Solo Work
The album’s solo duties are mainly handled by Pieranunzi and Joris’ captivating trumpet, with additional solos from the band members. Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn delivers a fiery alto sax solo on “Echoes,” while Hans Glawischnig’s bass displays playful pizzicato plucks on “Chet.” “Night Bird” highlights the improvisational skills of Christian Jaksjø’s trombone, Steffen Weber’s tenor sax, and another alto sax performance by Sauerborn.
The Art of Arrangement
Bert Joris’ remarkable arrangements elevate the album, showcasing his ability to work with melodic cells and produce surprising rhythmic and linear developments. He skillfully uses the large ensemble for a wide range of colors and textures, taking Pieranunzi’s compositions to new heights.
Joris’ trumpet playing and writing have been featured with renowned artists and orchestras, including Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Marc Johnson, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Lovano, Metropole Orchestra, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and the Brussels Philharmonic.
A Memorable Tribute
“Chet Remembered” stands as a memorable album for fans of lyrical piano interpretations and top-notch, innovative large ensemble performances. This collaboration between Enrico Pieranunzi, Bert Joris, and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band offers a poignant and inspiring tribute to the great Chet Baker.