Enrico Pieranunzi ‘Yesterdays’ (Stunt) 4/5

Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi is one of the most respected among European jazz pianists, and has performed with some distinguished U.S. and European formations, and this live recording at the Copenhagen Jazz House actually dates from some twenty years ago, yet has never previously been issued. Its release celebrates a short-lived trio with the Danish duo of bassist Mats Vinding and drummer Alex Riel. Largely devoted to the standard repertoire. the music is anything but formulaic and the evergreen pieces chosen are merely the pretext for some wonderfully inventive transformations. A case in point is the elongated and utterly transformed take on Jerome Kern’s ‘Yesterdays’, which develops into an eleven minute opus. Unquestionably, a personal favourite remains the playful reading of Fats Waller’s ‘Jitterbug Waltz’, where in the intro, piano and bass engage in some delightful trade-offs and the relaxed mood is akin to that of a rehearsal. Pieranunzi has long venerated the piano genius of Bill Evans and a genuinely heartfelt tribute can be heard on ‘My Foolish Heart’, a number that Evans so adored. Further evidence of the trio’s affinity for ballads is found on ‘My Funny Valentine’. A terrific surprise of a recording that few heard live first time round. Quality music seldom dates and this trio should definitely get together again some time soon.

Tim Stenhouse