In this tribute to the famous Chet Baker, Enrico Pieranunzi continues his collaboration with Bert Joris for their second album together on Challenge Records.
“This CD has a very special meaning for me. Remembering Chet takes me back to 1979 when I first met him. That meeting would soon prove to be a turning point in my musical life. Playing together, sharing concerts or recording sessions with him allowed me to be in close contact with an artist of rare jazz experience who caused an enormous change in my playing. Many of the tunes on this CD come from those important years of collaboration. Among them are Soft Journey, Fairy Flowers and Brown Cat Dance, which I composed expressly for Chet and which, like Night bird, are included in “Soft Journey”, recorded at the end of 1979, just after our first meeting. The opening track, From E. to C., as the title clearly suggests, is a dedication to Chet and also dates to our first period of collaboration, whereas Echoes was recorded later in 1987, as a part of “Silence,” a CD under Charlie Haden’s name.
There is, however, much else that deserves to be highlighted on this CD. For instance, the fact that “Chet Remembered” was conceived and realized in tandem with Bert Joris, a wonderful trumpet player in whose playing there are clear traces of Chet’s style, reworked in a very personal way. I can say that, although we play different instruments, Chet’s influence has determined a sort of stylistic “brotherhood” in our approach to improvisation, an affinity that is one of the distinctive elements of this CD. The dual role that Bert plays on this CD also deserves to be emphasised. Along with Bert Joris as a great trumpet player, Bert Joris also in fact appears here as an outstanding arranger. His ability to work with the melodic cells of the pieces, making them the basis of unpredictable melodic-rhythmic developments, is fantastic. And I find his ability to take full advantage of the palette of colors offered by the big band very impressive. Among the countless, excellent examples of his latter quality I would like to highlight here the harmonisation and orchestration of the solo on Soft Journey, which Chet improvised on the 1979 album of the same name (track 4, between 2’03” and 3’43”). A typical, wonderfully melodic Chet solo that I personally transcribed a few hours after Chet had improvised and recorded it. After so many years, it is so nice to listen to this solo here in the lush, refined big band version set up by Bert. Definitely a fine way to remember and honour Chet’s improvisational mastery.
Of course, this tribute to our mutual mentor could not have been accomplished in such an original and effective way without the contribution of the magnificent HR Big Band and its musicians, to all of whom I’d like to address my sincerest thanks. The days spent with them in the Frankfurt studios while recording this CD were most enjoyable and full of exciting musical moments.
A final special thanks to Challenge for enthusiastically accepting the release of this project that is designed to remember and celebrate the art of one of the purest talents in the history of jazz.” – Enrico Pieranunzi
1. From E. To C. (7:25)
2. Lost and Found (5:55)
3. Chet (8:15)
4. Soft Journey (6:45)
5. Fairy Flowers (8:35)
6. Night Bird (6:51)
7. Echoes (7:21)
8. Brown Cat Dance (6:09)
9. The Real You (5:01)