When starting this post I was trying to find a good reason why I didn’t mention the brilliant Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi in my 25 Essential Jazz albums. Actually, I couldn’t really find one.
Probably the only one that comes to mind that out of the enormous recording legacy that Pieranunzi has done over the years (and he’s still recording) it is really hard to pick a winner, there are so many good albums in his discography.
Obviously, Bill Evans influenced many contemporary pianists. However, his influence is audible even more with Pieranunzi. He certainly doesn’t make a secret out of it, he’s even written a book about Bill Evans, and on the 1986 recording below and many others, he’s even taken on Marc Johnson, the bassist of Evans last trio (see his brilliant playing on Consecration).
That said, don’t think that Pieranunzi is merely a Evans clone, far from that, he is one of the most extraordinary piano players of our times for me.
This 1986 album is an excellent example of what I like about Pieranunzi. You get beautiful ballads (We’ll Be Together Again or Atigny), swinging melodies (Dee Song), and one of my most loved standards (Someday My Prince Will Come) in a beautiful, very individual version.
Overall, Pieranunzi will never only record standards, he’ll always contribute his own compositions (4 of the 9 album tracks, with Marc Johnson contributing another original).
My rating: 5 stars (yes I know, again 5 stars, but rest assured, my blog so far just has a very heavy bias to the stuff I really like, it is really not that I’ll fork out 5 stars at every corner).
I strongly suggest you don’t limit yourself in the exploration of Pieranunzi to this album, there is so much more to discover. For example, I’d recommend you get this full 6CD box at Amazon, which includes 5 other albums from his earlier period, all good to excellent.
You can also just download the individual album here (Qobuz).