Chet Baker Meets Enrico Pieranunzi

Album entitled “Chet Baker Meets Enrico Pieranunzi – Soft Journey.” The record was recorded on December 4, 1979 and January 4, 1980 at Emmequattro Studios in Rome and released on the Edipan label

Enrico Pieranunzi: piano/Chet Baker: trumpet/Maurizio Giammarco: saxophone/Riccardo Del Fra: double bass/Roberto Gatto: drums

In 1979 Enrico Pieranunzi with the trio formed by Riccardo Del Fra and Roberto Gatto performed for the first time in concert with Chet Baker as part of the Macerata Jazz Festival. At the end of the evening, the Roman pianist asked the American trumpeter about his willingness to record an album together.

At first Chet responded to the invitation with a lapidary “I will think about it,” only to call Pieranunzi the following week letting him know that he had accepted the invitation. After a few months, the two are in Emmequattro Studios in Rome to record tracks for the album “Soft Journey.”

The record work marks a significant change in Pieranunzi’s piano approach, influenced by the minimalist and “whispering” universe of Chet Baker. For that reason, the material is composed by the pianist with the idea of making it as suitable as possible for Chet’s unique trumpet sound, an aspect evident as early as the title track opening the record work. The only tracks not under Pieranunzi’s signature are Maurizio Giammarco’s “Animali diurni” and “My Funny Valentine.”

In the performance of the latter piece, a standard by R. Rodgers and L. Hart, Chet Baker, on Pieranunzi’s pathos-filled accompaniment and invective on the piano, alternates the light and at times poignant singing with the refined phrasing on the trumpet. “Night Bird” is undoubtedly the most significant composition on the album: written by the Roman pianist in 1978 and featured, in its first version, on the album “From Always to Now,” it rose over the years to the status of a jazz standard thanks to Chet Baker, who fell in love with the composition and recorded it several times, teaching it to other trumpeters and instrumentalists around the world.

Chet Baker Meets Enrico Pieranunzi – Soft Journey