Labels > Cam Jazz > Enrico Pieranunzi > New Spring

Enrico Pieranunzi

New Spring

Cam Jazz CAMJ 7909-5

8052405142368 - New Spring - CD

Artists :
Enrico Pieranunzi ( Piano )
Clarence Penn ( Drums )
Scott Colley ( Bass )
Donny McCaslin ( Tenor Sax )
Release date
Mar 17, 2017
Duration
62:00

A live performance took place at the Vanguard in New York one night in April 2015: Enrico Pieranunzi played in quartet with Donny McCaslin on sax, Scott Colley on double bass and Clarence Penn on drums. In the sold-out club, the lights were dimmed, the audience stopped talking and, that night in New York, jazz started to flow out from the only Italian artist who has played as a leader three times on that legendary stage.  The concert was recorded and released on CAM JAZZ.  The music Pieranunzi and his quartet deliver here is all portrayed in the CD title, “New Spring”: renewal, vital energy, promises that come true, in the city that has always been the cradle, school and springboard for, but also and again the point of arrival of jazz, the city whose breath is perceived, between tracks, in the clapping hands of the audience at the Vanguard.  This is a modern, internationally-oriented jazz, entirely featuring original tracks, except for the standard “I Hear A Rhapsody”, and resulting from the interplay among four real jazz giants, who skillfully blend their forceful personalities into excellent music. The Vanguard is the shrine of American jazz and here, in the amazing harmonies and unexpected melodies of Pieranunzi’s superb, creative piano, you can feel it throbbing. You can almost see Scott Colley filling that small historic stage with his double bass, grinding out rhythm and weaving passionate, moving melodies. You can picture the audience captivated by the scratchy voice of Donny McCaslin’s saxophone that soars with soft phrases and mingles with Clarence Penn’s rich, full drumming, while Lorraine Gordon, the legendary owner of the Vanguard, seated in a corner of her reign, attentively listens to each note.  “New Spring” is ever-evolving music with an immediate impact on the listeners’ emotions. It is a small great journey through New York, Italian, American and European jazz: a picture, a photograph, a moment, a film clip, a night to be enjoyed and breathed wherever you like that then makes you really want to pick up and go to the place where jazz is, maybe precisely in spring, hoping for another beguiling April in New York.


DownBeat Magazine: Best Album (2016)


Recorded live on 29, 30 April 2015 at The Village Vanguard, NYC Recording engineer James Farber


Photos by Andrea Boccalini


Liner notes by Enrico Pieranunzi

Reviews

Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet New Spring

Depuis quelques années, Enrico Pieranunzi est régulièrement invité à se produire au Village Vanguard, le mythique club new-yorkais. En 2015, année où cet enregistrement en public a été réalisé, le pianiste romain avait délaissé son format de prédilection, le trio, pour un quartette américain avec le saxophoniste ténor Donny McCaslin, le contrebassiste Scott Colley et le batteur Clarence Penn. Un répertoire d’excellente qualité, issu de la plume de Pieranunzi sauf une composition de Scott Colley et le standard I Hear a Rhapsody pour une musique de haute volée, énergique, engagée et inventive, que demander de plus ? Enrico Pieranunzi est décidément l’un des pianistes actuels les plus passionnants.

15/9/2017lemonde.frPaul Benkimoun
Enrico Pieranunzi New Spring - CHOC Jazz Magazine

Pieranunzi n’en finit pas de réaliser son rêve américain. Il est dorénavant un habitué du Village Vanguard. Cet enregistrement est ainsi son second en ce lieu mythique après celui avec Marc Johnson et Paul Motian (“Live At The Village Vanguard”, 2010).
En 2009, le pianiste constituait un nouveau trio avec Scott Colley et Antonio Sanchez. À ce dernier s’est avantageusement substitué Clarence Penn. Non que Sanchez n’ait pas été à la hauteur, mais sans doute s’amusait-il à un peu trop à bander les muscles pour un pianiste aussi délicat. Cette fois, un idéal semble être trouvé. Au trio s’ajoute celui que l’on ne présente dorénavant plus, Donny McCaslin. Il était déjà dans l’équipe de Pieranunzi sur deux albums précédents, et comme le courant était bien passé, on le retrouve ici en grande forme. L’entente du ténor avec le pianiste est télépathique, le second amplifiant/complétant les solos du premier. Du grand art. La réussite de l’ensemble doit aussi beaucoup à Scott Colley. Lorsque l’on se souvient qu’il a étudié son instrument avec Charlie Haden, l’un des mentors de Pieranunzi, on comprend pourquoi celui-ci aime à le convier à ses côtés – il signe notamment un solo très inspiré sur New Spring. Les fans de l’Italien, à présent nombreux, seront heureux de découvrir des compositions nouvelles dont le pianiste a le secret. Celui-ci est en grande forme, emmenant parfois sa rythmique jusque sur les chemins de traverse de l’improvisation idiomatique libre. Du grand Pieranunzi.

3/7/2017Jazz MagazineLudovic Florin
Enrico Pieranunzi Qt New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard - 4 STARS

A faultless, inspired, inspiring album inside the most tastefully designed digipak of the year.

1/7/2017Jazzwiseeditorial
Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet New Spring

È l’ennesima “nuova primavera” di Enrico Pieranunzi, che nell’aprile 2015 ha messo piede per la terza volta da leader al Village Vanguard di New York, un record per un jazzista italiano. Il pianista si è presentato nel mitico locale con un quartetto di gran lusso comprendente il sassofonista tenore Donny McCaslin, il solido ma elastico contrabbassista Scott Colley e l’evoluto batterista Clarence Penn. Merita grandi lodi in primo luogo la navigatissima ritmica, apprezzata in contesti linguisticamente variegati (post bop, modali e aleatori…), dove ha sempre garantito un contributo adeguatamente professionale; diverso e non sempre uniforme dal punto di vista gergale il retroterra di esperienze portato in bagaglio da McCaslin, protagonista per esempio tanto nel disco testamento di David Bowie, “Blackstar”, quanto qui in “New Spring”. Nell’album, che a dispetto della ripresa live è impreziosito da una luminosa definizione audio e da un’ottima separazione degli strumenti, sfilano sette pezzi: cinque di Pieranunzi, uno di Colley (“Out Of The Void”), più l’evergreen “I Hear A Rhapsody”. Non scopriamo oggi il magico carisma dell’artista romano, basti solo ricordare che nel corso di una carriera ormai quarantennale ha saputo farsi rispettare e apprezzare da icone internazionali quali Chet Baker, Charlie Haden e Paul Motian. Dinanzi a una platea qualificata come quella newyorkese, il lirico lessico di Pieranunzi si è esaltato al massimo, dimostrandosi perfetto per far coagulare gli idiomi di quattro musicisti così esperti e farli convergere verso un post-modale ammaliante e molto personale. Il timbro carnale e voluminoso di McCaslin ben si confà alle evolute concezioni armoniche di Pieranunzi, mentre le pulsazioni della ditta Colley/Penn garantiscono un supporto dai contorni futuristici.

10/6/2017AudioReviewEnzo Pavoni
Sur la bonne piste - Enrico Pieranunzi, New Spring - four stars

En 2013, Enrico Pieranunzi avait publié le témoignage enregistré de son passage en trio au Village Vanguard de New York. Voici celui de son concert en quarte au même endroit en avril 2015. Davantage marqué par le post-bop que par l’habituelle cantabile de son clavier, ce nouvel album est saisissant de modernité et d’audace, littéralement dynamité par le batteur Clarence Penn. Le quartet y parcourt tous les climats et les vertiges d’une musique à l’énergie continue, qui fait la parte belle à l’aventure et au dialogue.

1/6/2017Classicaeditorial
New Spring Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet

Le pianiste romain Enrico Pieranunzi, digne héritier de Bill Evans, enregistre le plus souvent en solo ou en trio. Le voici en quartet avec des musiciens américains plus jeunes que lui, parmi les plus excitants de la scène new-yorkaise, dans le prestigieux Village Vanguard où ont été captés tant d'albums décisifs. Le lieu est inspirant. Le saxophoniste ténor Donny McCaslin, qui a compté pour beaucoup dans le succès de l'ultime disque de David Bowie, se montre ici dans une forme olympique, loquace mais jamais bavard, développant une vraie pensée musicale. La paire rythmique que forment Scott Colley (contrebasse) et Clarence Penn (batterie), euphorisés par le jeu tout en clarté de Pieranunzi et l'intérêt de ses compositions (pas faciles et pourtant évidentes), déborde de swing et fait preuve d'une constante écoute. Comme (presque) toujours au Vanguard, le son est une merveille. C'était la seconde visite du pianiste italien et on sent qu'il ne voulait pas décevoir le public new-yorkais. Sa dette à l'égard de Bill Evans, il ne cesse de la payer de la plus belle façon, en mettant toujours son propre lyrisme à contribution. Ses compositions sont neuves, d'Amsterdam Avenue à The Waver, rigoureuses, et il fait un sort enviable au Out of the void, de Scott Colley, et au standard I hear a rhapsody, introduit par une improvisation échevelée qui rappelle Martial Solal. Du jazz qui a des choses à dire et les dit bien.

29/05/2017telerama.frMichel Contat
New Spring Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet

Déjà publié (et salué) aux USA fin 2016, un album enregistré à l'occasion du 80ème anniversaire du Village Vanguard. Le pianiste italien y retrouve le saxophoniste qu'il avait accueilli en 2013 pour l'album «Proximity», et je dois avouer que je préfère Donny Mc Caslin dans l'un et l'autre cas, au côté de Pieranunzi, plutôt que dans le CD «Beyond Now» qu'il a publié sous son nom voici quelques mois. La musique ici relève d'une esthétique presque intemporelle (une intemporalité qui cependant prendrait sa source du côté des années 60) : musique de l'effervescence (affichée ou subliminale), du lyrisme (revendiqué ou enfoui sous les arcanes de la modernité) et de l'interplay (cette interactivité si particulière qui s'est insinuée, sans fracas, chez Bill Evans, et de manière plus ostentatoire chez beaucoup d'autres). Mais ce n'est pas parce que l'on est au Vanguard qu'il faut nécessairement invoquer les mânes de Bill Evans. D'ailleurs, au fil des plages, on pourrait aussi déceler des analogies avec McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock et quelques autres. Mais l'essentiel est ailleurs, dans le style et l'exigence du pianiste, dans le swing rageur induit par la prestation en club (et quel club!), swing stimulé par la saxophoniste qui aime à pousser le bouchon toujours plus loin ; swing attisé par un tandem basse-batterie qui conjugue subtilité et haute énergie. Beaucoup de compositions de Pieranunzi, qui sait ce qu'élaborer veut dire, et un thème du bassiste, Out Of The Void (une intro extrême orientale, un thème façon sixties, une beau solo de basse, et un envol torride, côté sax et piano). On trouve aussi un standard, I Hear A Rhapsody, exposé au piano 'à la Solal', en digressions et mises en abyme(s), avant un développement collectif, très décontracté mais riche d'invention(s). En somme, on aurait aimé être, ces soirs d'avril 2015, au Village Vanguard.

26/5/2017lesdnj.over-blog.comXavier Prévost
L'actualité du jazz: Enrico Pieranunzi, un quartet printanier

Cet enregistrement en concert a été réalisé au Village Vanguard à New York une nuit d’avril 2015 : le pianiste et compositeur Enrico Pieranunzi en quartet avec Donny McCaslin au saxophone, Scott Colley à la contrebasse et Clarence Penn à la batterie. Dans le club bondé, les lumières étaient tamisées, le public a fait silence, et cette nuit-là à New York, le jazz commença à jaillir des doigts du seul artiste italien qui ait joué en leader à trois reprises sur cette scène légendaire. Le concert a été enregistré et produit par Cam Jazz. La musique que Pieranunzi et son quartet ont délivrée ici est parfaitement suggérée dans le titre de l’album “New Spring” : renouvellement, énergie vitale, promesses tenues, dans cette ville qui a toujours été le berceau, l’école et le tremplin mais aussi le point d’arrivée du jazz, la ville dont le souffle est perçu, entre les titres, dans l’applaudissement du public au Vanguard. C’est un jazz moderne, entièrement basé sur des titres originaux, sauf pour le standard I Hear A Rhapsody, et qui découle de l’interaction de quatre super musiciens de jazz, qui mêlent habilement leur puissantes personnalités. Le Vanguard est le Bayreuth du jazz américain et ici, dans ces incroyables harmonies et les superbes mélodie inattendues de Pieranunzi, son piano créatif, on peut sentir les vibrations. On peut aussi presque voir Scott Colley sur cette petite scène historique avec sa contrebasse, épousant le rythme et tissant des mélodies passionnantes et émouvantes. On peut imaginer le public captivé par la voix éraillée du saxophone de Donny McCaslin qui s’élève en phrases douces et se mélange avec la plénitude de la batterie de Clarence Penn, alors que Lorraine Gordon, légendaire propriétaire du Vanguard, assise dans un coin de son royaume, écoute attentivement chaque note.

18/5/2017francemusique.frAlex Dutilh
New Spring - Piano e regia di Pieranunzi

Il pianista romano Enrico Pieranunzi torna a documentare la sua popolarità nel cuore pulsante del jazz, lo storico club newyorkese Village Vanguard, con l’album Cam New Spring. Questa volta è in quartetto con vigorosi talenti contemporanei, Donny McCaslin al sax tenore, Scott Colley al contrabbasso, Clarence Penn alla batteria, per un concerto dell’aprile 2015 incentrato su diversi suoi brani originali fra i quali spicca un magnifico Loveward. Sembra di ascoltare un classico del mainstream jazz, poi l’interazione pienamente contemporanea fra i quattro si fa strada all’ascolto. E conquista, con McCaslin ecletticamente robusto, Colley roccioso ma elastico, Penn ubiquo e Pieranunzi perfetto regista.

11/5/2017Corriere della SeraClaudio Sessa
Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard

Nella discografia di Enrico Pieranunzi è il secondo album dal vivo registrato al Village Vanguard di New York, dopo il precedente episodio del 2013 che lo vedeva protagonista del trio con Marc Johnson e Paul Motian. In questa nuova incisione è in quartetto con Donny McCaslin, Scott Colley e Clarence Penn, e presenta sette brani, per lo più originali arrangiati per l’occasione. Ne deriva musica dal profondo scavo espressivo, carica di fascino e avvolta dall’atmosfera magica di un luogo che, dal 1935 a oggi, ha visto transitare la storia del jazz.

10/5/2017JazzitRoberto Paviglianiti
Enrico PIERANUNZI Quartet : « New Spring – Live at The Village Vanguard »

Quand le pianiste romain se déplace en Europe ou aux USA, il n’a aucun mal à réunir des musiciens prestigieux. Ainsi à New York en 2015 où Enrico Pieranunzi invitait le saxophoniste Donny McCaslin (toujours plus impressionnant de maîtrise) pour constituer un quartet avec Scott Colley et Clarence Penn (rythmique au top). En concert au Village Vanguard, toutes les conditions sont remplies pour une leçon de jazz brillantissime, maîtrisé dans ses formes les plus conventionnelles mais toujours réinventées.

8/5/2017culturejazz.frThierry Giard
Le piano pluriel d’Enrico Pieranunzi - New Spring

Publié en Amérique et au Japon en automne dernier, “New Spring” (CAM Jazz / Harmonia Mundi) est disponible en France depuis le 31 mars. Enregistré en avril 2015 au Village Vanguard de New York, il fait entendre Enrico Pieranunzi avec des musiciens américains. Scott Colley qui tient la contrebasse dans “Permutation” (2009) et “Stories” (2011), deux albums que le pianiste a gravés en trio avec Antonio Sanchez, est de l’aventure, mais avec un autre batteur. La frappe lourde et percussive de Clarence Penn muscle presque autant que lui la musique, un jazz afro-américain d’une grande vitalité rythmique. La contrebasse pneumatique et mélodique de Colley, un des grands de l’instrument, y contribue, ce dernier s’exprimant souvent en soliste, notamment dans Out of the Void (une de ses compositions) et Loveward, pièces dans lesquelles se révèle la subtilité de son langage. Loveward met également en lumière le lyrisme de Donny McCaslin, le quatrième homme du groupe, un musicien avec lequel le pianiste a enregistré en 2013 l’album “Proximity” en quartette. Saxophoniste ténor à la sonorité rugueuse, McCaslin peut tout aussi bien torturer ses longues phrases fiévreuses et tourmentées qu’adopter un jeu sensible dans les ballades. Avec eux, Enrico Pieranunzi joue un piano puissant visité par le bop, délivre un accompagnement harmonique étonnamment libre. Dans New Spring et Out of the Void, il ne cache pas son admiration pour McCoy Tyner, ici son principal inspirateur. Bill Evans, l’autre pianiste qu’il admire, n'est jamais très loin dans Loveward et The Waver, une ballade aux métriques incertaines, un va-et-vient de couleurs et de notes qui, libérées des rigueurs de la mesure, infléchissent la musique vers des contrées inattendues. Amsterdam Avenue et New Spring exceptés, la plupart des thèmes de cet album nous sont connus. I Hear a Rhapsody est bien sûr un standard que Bill Evans a plusieurs fois interprété. Enrico le réinvente, le revitalise, trempant son piano imbibé d'harmonie européenne dans le jazz de la grande Amérique.

25/4/2017blogdechoc.frPierre de Chocqueuse
Enrico Pieranunzi: New Spring – Live at the Village Vanguard

Il fascino, discreto o no che sia, rappresenta una qualità che si svela non appena ci si accosta ad una persona o un progetto artistico che -per eleganza, portamento, affabilità, gentilezza, intensità, bellezza, stile, amabilità e altri nobili appellativi -, cattura la nostra completa attenzione. Questo magnetismo può essere così forte che, anche se a volte si manifesta attraverso un sistema caratterizzato da regole ben codificate, si ha la netta sensazione di trovarsi di fronte a qualcosa di unico, inimitabile ed inequivocabilmente "naturale." New Spring. Live at the Village Vanguard ha tutti i caratteri di un'opera musicale dotata di grande fascino. Registrato nello storico jazz club newyorkese nell'aprile del 2015, le sette tracce fotografano una musica che sa essere insieme viva, pulsante, seducente e soprattutto fresca. Sono diversi gli aspetti interessanti; tra questi la sinergia, o se si preferisce l'interplay, gioca un ruolo fondamentale nel plasmare il sound, nell'infondere spessore alla musica che questo meraviglioso quartetto esprime. Che si tratti di medium fast come "New Spring" o di una quasi immateriale ballad come "Loveward," la sostanza non cambia: ogni voce trova la sua collocazione perfetta in rapporto alle dinamiche dialettiche d'insieme. "Permutation," brano costruito su una linea di basso ripetuta—con i suoi cambi di tempo, gli accelerando, i rallentando, i dialoghi d'insieme, i momenti in solo, in duo e in trio, le parti libere -rappresenta in qualche modo l'essenza dell'intero progetto: tutto è perfettamente inserito in una visione collettiva; i vari moods giungono puntuali a definire immagini sonore efficaci e cangianti. La vocazione alla costruzione di architetture sonore modulari si fa ancor più evidente in "I Hear a Rhapsody," brano in cui l'afflato poetico dell'intero ensemble raggiunge l'apice nella parte finale: qui l'incisiva voce del sassofono tenore di Donny McCaslin funge da richiamo guida, orienta le dinamiche d'insieme definendo simultaneamente sia la cornice che l'immagine rappresentata all'interno. La robustezza di questo progetto consiste nell'organizzazione sapiente della materia; gli ordinari paradigmi mainstream, che qui vengono riformulati creativamente in modo da dare a idee note una nuova consistenza, permettono alla musica del quartetto di dotarsi di una personalissima identità. L'operazione assume rilevanza estetica grazie soprattutto alla perfetta affinità tra i membri del gruppo. Lo slancio, vivo e misurato insieme, abbinato alla coerente scorrevolezza melodiosa del fraseggio, predispongono il pianismo di Enrico Pieranunzi a fondersi amabilmente con il timbro caloroso dell'eccellente McCaslin, il quale sa sintetizzare -in una personalissima e ampia miscela di influenze -efficaci effetti che disvelano, in un unicum espressivo, potente pulsazione ritmica, carezzevole vibrato, un fluido e avvincente legato e una fervente vocalità. La contenuta e coinvolgente allegria percussiva del bravissimo batterista Clarence Penn, che arricchisce di precisi contrappunti e abbellimenti ritmici convenienti e sempre in forma discreta lo spazio sonoro, ben si stabilizza con il suono marcato e sciolto di Scott Colley al contrabbasso. Nell'insieme, questi quattro musicisti realizzano un album sempre perfettamente controllato ma anche estremamente disinibito, fresco ed elegantemente attraente.

10/4/2017italia.allaboutjazz.comLuigi Sforza
Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet: New Spring review – Italian pianist is scalding hot

Enrico Pieranunzi may have quietly accompanied the fragile trumpet romantic Chet Baker, but anyone who’s heard the great Italian pianist live knows how electrifying he can be when the brakes are off. New Spring, recorded live at New York’s Village Vanguard, catches that, and its temperature is raised to scalding point by an equally uninhibited Donny McCaslin, the saxophonist from David Bowie’s Blackstar band. Pieranunzi can echo Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner, but the contemporary insights of McCaslin and drummer Clarence Penn reforge those methods as if they were new. The anthemic Tyner feel of Amsterdam Avenue is sharpened by McCaslin’s melancholy squeals and staccato figures, while the title track, with its swerving sax theme and contrastingly prancing countermelody, invites some of the venerable leader’s most youthfully muscular improv. McCaslin’s mix of eerily slurred intonation and explosive accents give the ballad episodes a caustic edge, and Pieranunzi veers between old-school swing embroidery and Hancockian drive on I Hear a Rhapsody. New Spring is an old-wine-in-new-bottles set that could hardly have been better named.

16/3/2017theguardian.comJohn Fordham
New Spring (Live at the Village Vanguard) Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet

A dazzling pianist by any calculation, Enrico Pieranunzi is also masterful at taking stories from intimate spaces within himself and transforming them into deeply affecting music appealing to a wide audience of enraptured listeners. Distilled from April 2015 performances at the Village Vanguard, New Spring hits the ground running with the high-energy original “Amsterdam Avenue”, followed by the winning and vibrant title track and doesn’t let go of the listener’s captive heart and attention until the very last note. Rome-based Pieranunzi and his excellent colleagues ensure that the overall forms of his compositions (five of seven tracks) are maintained while allowing opportunities for stunning improvisation. Pieranunzi doesn’t simply play but orchestrates the entire instrument, eliciting myriad voices, textures and colors as well as summoning an outstanding lyricism, expressing complexities and changes of feeling, which, in turn, stir the emotions of listeners. Pieranunzi seems to have found an ideal partner in saxophonist Donny McCaslin. Throughout they are magical together, producing a flow of varying moods and conversations. This interaction is especially touching in Pieranunzi’s ballad “Loveward”. Bassist Scott Colley and drummer Clarence Penn offer flawless and appropriately sensitive support, with the former’s “Out of the Void” an excellent fit for Pieranunzi’s repertoire of exquisitely beautiful and intricately crafted music. A return to the Village Vanguard in late October with almost the same band—saxophonist Seamus Blake ably taking up McCaslin’s post—celebrated the CD with pieces from the recording such as the pulsatingly rhythmic but also melodic “Permutation”. They also unveiled an evocative new song which Pieranunzi has titled “Dolce Declina Il Sole” (“Gently the Sun Goes Down”) after a verse by Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. Additionally included was “No-nonsense”, Pieranunzi’s tension-inducing exploration of what he calls “chromatic and dissonant harmony”, and his charming Federico Fellini-inspired “Blue Waltz”.

1/12/2016The New York City Jazz RecordLaurel Gross
Enrico Pieranunzi New Spring: Live At The Village Vanguard - 4 ½ stars

Warning: This review of the latest from Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi might read like a one-note melody. But everything that’s missing from the text—contrasts, surprises, variety—is abundant in the music itself. There are no weak spots. No matter what criteria you apply, whether intellectual or visceral, you’ll find no blemishes. Which makes writing this as much a challenge as listening to New Spring is a delight. Pieranunzi plays with an alert spontaneity tempered by an intelligence nurtured by his long experience. Though he lights a few fireworks now and then, he prefers underplaying, approaching the performance not as the leader but as a composer, playing his parts in the written sections and thinking from a pianistic standpoint during free sections. If there’s one wellspring nourishing the brilliance of this performance, it’s the fullness with which the other musicians understand and embrace this approach. All four players are fully in the moment—more likely a few moments ahead—reading where their colleagues are going, measuring just how far outside they can venture without disrupting the unity of the quartet’s process. Even more impressively, they do so without compromising their own identities. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin’s aesthetic is undeniable—his tone, his poignant downward bends, the hints of rasp. Yet every note, like everything contributed by bassist Scott Colley and drummer Clarence Penn, serves the tune and galvanizes the quartet’s extraordinary interactivity.

1/12/2016DownbeatBob Doerschuk
Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet: New Spring: Live at the Village Vanguard

Of Italy’s great piano players, Enrico Pieranunzi is the most transatlantic. Stefano Bollani, Danilo Rea and Giovanni Guidi collaborate mostly with other Europeans. Pieranunzi hires North Americans. His most enduring trio included Marc Johnson and Joey Baron. Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Jim Hall, Chris Potter and Kenny Wheeler have been among his sidemen. The quartet on New Spring has tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Clarence Penn. It is Pieranunzi’s second album recorded at the Village Vanguard. No other Italian has made an album as a leader there. It is hard-core live jazz, with long tracks and more bass and drum solos than any previous Pieranunzi recording. Colley and Penn seize their moments; they are both articulate storytellers. McCaslin is a saxophonist who gives everything he has to every song. What sets New Spring apart from so many other fine small-group Vanguard recordings is how it blends American edge and intensity with Italian romanticism and elegance. This music occurs in the context of Pieranunzi’s overarching lyricism. His compositions (new ones like “Amsterdam Avenue” and earlier ones like “The Waver”) are graceful, finished forms. McCaslin clearly respects them and traces their inevitable melodies with measured care. But on “Amsterdam Avenue” he breaks out into quick runs of gathering urgency. His lines on “The Waver” are like long, swerving glides, but then he careens into cries and upheavals, then subsides back into the original rapt atmosphere. As for Pieranunzi the improvising soloist, every time he ascends from the ensemble he writes a fresh new song within the song. Beauty exerts a gravitational pull on him. Even inside his fast, hard pieces, like the title track, a ballad lurks. When he plays an actual ballad, like “Loveward”, a hovering call-and-response, its claim on the heart is complete.

18/11/2016jazztimes.comThomas Conrad
Enrico Pieranunzi: New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard

Pianist Enrico Pieranunzi's latest offering, New Spring —Live At The Village Vanguard ties together, in different ways, two previous CAM Jazz releases. The most recent is the studio album Proximity featuring saxophonist Donny McCaslin (who also plays in the live album) in a bass-less quartet. The earlier album is Live At The Village Vanguard with drummer Paul Motian and bassist Marc Johnson, and is one of Motian's last recordings before his death. Thus, New Spring, recorded over two nights in April, 2015 (in the 80th anniversary year of the club), closes a circle for Pieranunzi, who is the only Italian to have played three times as a leader at the Vanguard, while he continues to explore new vistas with American jazz musicians. Needless to say, there is always something special about a well-recorded live jazz album, and this album most definitely has that exciting sense of participating in the in-the-moment creation of fantastic music, as audience applause can be heard after solos and the end of a tune. These tunes are mostly originals by Pieranunzi, with one by bassist Scott Colley and one standard, "I Hear A Rhapsody" (see this version by John Coltrane on Lush Life (Prestige, 1961)), which is given a marvelously unorthodox treatment. Pieranunzi's musical world embraces American jazz that is deeply colored by the lushness of Italian Romanticism along with tonalities and voicings of classical Impressionist composers channeled through his embrace of Bill Evans. Each track has a grand architectural feel with a good dose of drama added, while the structure of his tunes lend themselves to the extended treatment that fits naturally with the group. Pieranunzi obviously likes McCaslin's tone, which is slightly on the acidic side and acts as a contrast to Pieranunzi's lushness. Within the structure of the tune, McCaslin plays with freedom and drive, which is supported and enhanced by Clarence Penn's dynamic drumming and Colley's pulsing, melodic base, but also by Pieranunzi always interesting accompaniment. What is particularly interesting is that while this music is solidly in the mainstream, it sounds very fresh, and not a little experimental somehow. The quartet is extremely tight, playing as a unit, while each individual's part is clear and distinct, and yet the feel of taking chances is very strong. New Spring rises above any stylistic labels, becoming "pure" jazz that is distinctly Pieranunzi and completely engrossing.

8/11/2016allaboutjazz.comBudd Kopman