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Bebop Spoken There

Jennifer Wharton: "People forget that the trombone is so glorious. It can be like going to church, or getting ready for battle. It can be a lot of things....For a longtime I was the only female trombonist in New York," - (DownBeat May 2021)

Archive quotes.

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.


13,218 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 637 of them this year alone and, so far, 45 this month (May 11).

Coming soon ...

May 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (Indoors!)
May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 21: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).
June 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).

Friday, February 19, 2021

Album review: Enrico Pieranunzi & Bert Joris - Afterglow

Enrico Pieranunzi  (piano),  Bert Joris (trumpet, flugelhorn) 

Veteran Italian pianist Pieranunzi has recorded prolifically, in many settings since the mid-1970s, and he teams up here with the experienced Belgian Bert Joris on trumpet and flugel for an intimate and relaxed session of originals. Despite their considerable output, I have to say neither player had made much impression on me until hearing this new album. I guess that although jazz audiences on the mainland are famously large, much continental jazz goes under the radar in the UK, swamped by homegrown and transatlantic produce, and not helped by the infrequency of touring here. On the evidence of this Italian-Belgian product, we need to salvage some European jazz alongside the threatened loss of Chianti and Trappist beer!  

Trumpet and piano is a somewhat unusual but highly effective pairing, to my ears at least. A very classy recent example is Avisahai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai’s 2019 Playing the Room (link). The format lends itself to the relaxed ballad, and this mood is visited here, but with livelier and freer interludes.   Pieranunzi’s style is rooted in straight ahead bop, and he is often compared to Bill Evans, but with a more cinematic tendency, allied to some classical echoes.  I have to say the opening mood here of Siren’s Lounge reminded me of a privileged evening in the company of Messrs. Edis and Hardy in the Beaumont Hotel in Hexham back in pre-Covid days!  Pieranunzi has form in this idiom, having recorded with Chet Baker back in 1979, but while Joris never assaults the ear-drums, he has a much more dynamic range and technique than Baker, with purposeful lyrical intent, á  la Enrico Rava.  

The eleven jointly composed tracks are all quite short, three to six minutes long, and span the relaxed and lyrical, awash with languid space, through to the more urgent and intense, although never frantic.   

The title track, Afterglow, is the standout, not to be confused with Ed Sheeran’s rather different 2020 hit (or God forbid Genesis’ 1976 bombastic banger!). This one is a delicate ballad, opening with wistful piano joined by perfectly intersecting trumpet before passing the wholesome theme back and forth, carefully treading the fine line between sentimental and cheesy.  

Millie takes a more playful and quirky turnbefore the delightful Cradle Song for Mattia blends joy at the birth of a nephew with grace and poignancy recalling Avishai Cohen’s similar folk lullaby Shir Eres. The harder edged and hipper Five Plus Five embraces dissonant piano voicings, and in fact the second half of the album heads into freer and more exploratory spaces. This range, and the sheer grandeur of the flugel on How Could We Forget, dispels any notion that this is merely high class lounge jazz.  

At first listening, the limited tonal palette and homespun nonchalance disguise the depth and subtlety of both playing and composition,  so I would recommend a few listens at twilight to fully appreciate the Afterglow: A frolic of crimson is the spreading glory of the sky, heaven’s jocund maid flaunting a trailed red robe’ (T.E. Hulme) 

Chris K 

Challenge Records UPC0608917346022 Released January 2021 Recorded Sept. 2018. 


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