Jazz CD Reviews

Enrico Pieranunzi Quintet – FelliniJazz – CamJazz

My favorites were the ensemble’s treatments of the familiar themes from La Dolce Vita and La Strada.

Published on August 5, 2008

Enrico Pieranunzi Quintet – FelliniJazz – CamJazz

Enrico Pieranunzi Quintet – FelliniJazz – CamJazz  CAMJ 7761-2, 63:45 [CamJazz.com] ****:

(Enrico Pieranunzi, piano; Kenny Wheeler, trumpet; Chris Potter, sax; Charlie Haden, bass; Paul Motian, drums)

This is not the first jazz project based on the music from the films of  Federico Fellini but it is one of the most interesting.  Rome-based pianist Pieranunzi has a long history of recordings, including many others with U.S.-based artists such as heard on this one. Pieranunzi says in his album notes that he intended this as a tribute to Fellini, to jazz and to Rome – which was at the center of Fellini’s world as well.  His goal was to use the terrific musicians he assembled to invent new and original ways to look at the music of Fellini’s soundtracks.  And he succeeded – it took me a while to even recognize some of the familiar tunes in the initial few tracks – they are certainly transformed.

I was surprised that there was only a passing mention of Nino Rota, who was the primary composer for Fellini’s films (in fact I believe one of the other such efforts was titled Rota Jazz, or something like that).  There is one theme by Bacalov, using a tango rhythm for City of Women, plus two originals by Pieranunzi himself.  My favorites were the ensemble’s treatments of the familiar themes from La Dolce Vita and La Strada. The often dream-like imagination of Fellini is tied in so closely to the music of Rota, and most of these new treatments of his music succeed in retaining that feeling.  The trumpet is featured both on screen and in the music for several of his films, so Kenny Wheeler’s creative presence here is most appropriate.

TrackList: I Vitelloni, Il Bidone, City of Women, Amarcord, Cabiria’s Dream, La Dolce Vita, La Strada, Night of Cabiria, Fellini’s Waltz

 – John Henry

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