Pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, one of Italy’s outstanding jazz musicians, deserves more recognition in the U.S. He’s recorded dozens of albums since the ‘70s, and the 2009 release, Dream Dance, is an excellent addition. Here Pieranunzi leads a trio that includes the drummer Joey Baron and the bassist Marc Johnson, two players the pianist has collaborated with off and on for a quarter of a century. The group's distinctive sound is rooted in the post-Bill Evans tradition but still isn’t quite like anything else. Pieranunzi, Baron, and Johnson cohere beautifully as a unit, and are particularly sensitive to timbre. On “End of Diversions,” a piece that brings to mind the dark modernist vibe of mid-‘60s Miles Davis, the group is in fine form: Baron is wonderfully responsive to Pieranunzi, and Johnson’s inventive bass drives the band hard. “As Never Before” finds the group deftly turning out a lovely ballad, the piano notes organically emerging out of a bed of hushed brushwork and full-bodied bass tones. And those are just two of the fine tracks: the art of the piano trio is in full bloom throughout Dream Dance.
January 20, 2009 9 Songs, 49 minutes ℗ 2009 Cam Jazz