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Matthew Ruddick

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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Wednesday, 30 September 2015 16:21

Enrico Pieranunzi & Federico Casagrande - Double Circle

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Italian pianist Pieranunzi returns with an intimate duo recording.

Pianist, composer and arranger Enrico Pieranunzi will be familiar to many through his collaborations with, amongst others, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden and Jim Hall. To an extent the playing of Bill Evans influences him but he has his own recognizable style and is rightly lauded as an important contemporary voice in jazz music.  Enrico’s father was a jazz-loving guitarist and so there is a pleasing symmetry to his joining forces, for the first time in a recording studio, with the young rising star Federico Casagrande on acoustic guitar. There is much to like in this meeting and in the intimate playing of this set of original compositions.  The album was recorded and mixed in Cavalicco on 12, 13 and 14 November 2014 at Artesuono Recording Studio and is released on the CAM JAZZ label. 

Anne Blomster Sang introduces the crisp and clean lines that characterize this album.  This is a refreshingly optimistic and beautiful tune; it lifts the spirit with its freedom. The title maybe hints at a personal story behind the writing but the tune sends out an invitation to the listener to substitute one of his or her own.  Periph continues the upbeat mood and is a breezy and joyful journey.  Sectors 1 and 2 are short improvised frolics, the fiery guitar-picking vying with random dissonant piano chords in 1 and in 2 being joined by attractive piano basslines.  

The ‘crisp and clean lines’ are well to the fore in Clear and Disclosure where they add much to these delightfully airy and subtle tunes whilst Dangerous Paths is somewhat darker and more pressing. The explorations of Within The House Of Night are followed by standout track No-Nonsense which develops from gentle musings into something satisfyingly bluesy contributing to this being one of the most thought-provoking pieces on the album.  The classic Brazilian samba Beija Flor (Noel Silva, Augusto Tomas Jr, Nelson Cavaquinho) with its yearning for the return of happiness is the only standard on the album.  

Enrico Pieranunzi’s long association with bassist Charlie Haden is well documented and can be witnessed on the ‘Special Encounter’ and ‘FelliniJazz’ recordings recently re-released in double format on CAM JAZZ.  Double Circle’s final track Charlie Haden is a moving and poignant tribute to his friend.  

This is an elegant and finely balanced collection and is played with a distinctive lightness of touch that wholly complements the intensity of its performance.  The album rewards in many ways, not least in offering a superb opportunity to sit back and appreciate craftsmen at work. Highly recommended.       

 

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