Italian pianist and composer Enrico Pieranunzi has collaborated with Belgian trumpeter/arranger Bert Joris and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band for a new album, “Chet Remembered” (Challenge Records CR7 3555). This collection of nine pieces is dedicated to the legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, who Pieranunzi describes as “one of the purest talents in the history of jazz.”
A Tribute to Chet Baker
Pieranunzi first met Baker in 1979 and worked with him until the latter’s untimely passing in 1988 at the age of 58. The tunes on this album include pieces Pieranunzi wrote to play with Baker at the time, such as “Fairy Flowers,” “Night Bird,” “Brown Cat Dance,” and “Echoes.” Each track showcases a unique blend of color, rhythmic grooves, and meters.
The majority of the solo work is expertly handled by Pieranunzi and Joris’ lyrical trumpet, while other members of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band also contribute impressive solos. Alto saxophonist Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn delivers a fiery solo on “Echoes,” while bassist Hans Glawischnig’s nimble pizzicato plucks stand out on “Chet.” “Night Bird” highlights the improvisational skills of Christian Jaksjø’s trombone, Steffen Weber’s tenor saxophone, and another captivating alto sax performance by Sauerborn.
Bert Joris: Arranger Extraordinaire
Bert Joris’ masterful arrangements deserve special recognition. He skillfully manipulates the melodic cells of the pieces, yielding unpredictable rhythmical and linear developments. Furthermore, his ability to exploit the palette of colors and textures available within a large ensemble elevates Pieranunzi’s compositions and Chet’s legacy to new heights.
Joris’ trumpet playing has been featured alongside notable musicians such as Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Marc Johnson, Jimmy Cobb, and Joe Lovano. He has also written arrangements for the Metropole Orchestra, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and the Brussels Philharmonic. His diverse experience culminates in a remarkable collaboration with Pieranunzi, resulting in a masterful showcase of piano artistry and compositions.
A Memorable Album for Jazz Lovers
“Chet Remembered” is sure to be a memorable album for fans of lyrical yet powerful piano interpretations and top-notch large ensemble performances. This inspiring tribute to Chet Baker offers listeners an unforgettable experience that perfectly captures the essence of the legendary musician.