Duke's Dream

Enrico Pieranunzi / Rosario Giuliani

Label: Intuition
Format: CD
Barcode: 0750447344525
Catalog number: INT 34452
Releasedate: 13-01-17
- Enrico Pieranunzi is one of the most important jazz pianists of our time

- Rosario Giuliani is an acclaimed saxophonist

- Homage to the music of Duke Ellington

For Enrico Pieranunzi and Rosario Giuliani, their reflections on the music of Duke Ellington provide a vital impulse for a musical process in which they re-imagine the Duke’s music, make it contemporary, and give it fresh new colors. Duke’s Dream opens a window and offers us a seat in a train that not only connects two parts of a city, but also one type of culture with another. Trains begins with the A Train to Harlem, but it also suggests other trains and other trains of thought.
Enrico Pieranunzi has had a long musical career with experiences deeply rooted in the history of jazz. In his youth, he played with Chet Baker, worked with many legendary jazz performers on stage and in studios, later wrote a book about Bill Evans, and today is himself considered one of the grandees of jazz. In Rosario Giuliani – eighteen years younger than himself – Pieranunzi has met a musician with the same urge to achieve authentic expression. Both know that a tribute album would only be a pale imitation of the figure being honored if it didn’t include something personal. A successful homage, in spite of all its affection, is always to some degree a self-portrait. This is also true for Pieranunzi’s musical involvement with Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Lennie Tristano, Charlie Parker, and Wayne Shorter, as well as his excursions into the sound worlds of Domenico Scarlatti and Federico Fellini.
Now we come to Duke Ellington, and that with good reason. Today, if one looks at this wonderful music, which we have become accustomed to call jazz, one discovers an astonishing coherence and consistency – in spite of clear distinctions between what is traditional, what is modern, and what is avant-garde. One feels Duke Ellington’s strong, warm heart at the center of it all. With their European background, Enrico Pieranunzi and Rosario Giuliani approach a cosmos that is a counterpart to their heritage: the classics of Afro-American music. Although much respect is in play here, the duo is not blinded by their admiration. They allow their own experiences to come into play, including those with contemporary jazz, which lets them approach Ellington’s music in new and sometimes astonishing ways. This begins with the treatment of the themes, and leads to new harmonic interpretations, rhythmic refinements, contrapuntal dialogues, and melodic inventions.
The two revel in an atmosphere that has rightly been called “Ellingtonia”. There are ballads and blues, dancing exuberance and lamentation, spiritual feeling and tonal audacity – all based on a swing feeling that, though not always explicitly formulated, is consistently imagined and felt.
This is a colorful world with its own rules, its own freedoms, and above all its own sound. The material for the “dream” is something emotional and congenial. In this sense, the Duke’s dream is humanistic and universal. Enrico Pieranunzi and Rosario Giuliani know how to enter this dream and carry it on. This allows them to create a new music in the Duke’s spirit. The element of poetry is essential for Pieranunzi, also in music; one of his pieces is even called “Don’t Forget the Poet”. And it is no accident that Ellington’s compositions are often referred to as tone poems. Just like Ellington’s pieces and suites, the dialogues between Enrico Pieranunzi and Rosario Giuliani are filled with fascinating characters, poetic images, and scintillating stories. Duke’s Dream is an invitation to indulge one’s own fantasy.

Enrico Pieranunzi was born in Rome in 1949 and has for many years been among the most significant and well-known protagonists of the international jazz scene. A pianist, composer, and arranger, he has recorded around 80 albums under his own name, ranging from piano solo to trio, from duo to quintet. He has collaborated, either live or in the studio, with Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Chris Potter, Marc Johnson, and Joey Baron. Pieranunzi has been named Artist of the Year three times by the Musica Jazz magazine critics’ poll (in 1989, 2003, 2008). He also won the French Django d’Or prize as “Best European Musician” in 1997 and the German Echo Jazz Award in 2014 as “Best International Keyboard Artist”.
Pieranunzi has performed his music all over the world in the most prestigious international festivals, from Montréal to Copenhagen and Buenos Aires, from Berlin and Madrid to Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing. For the past ten years, he has been playing more and more in the USA, and has taken part in the San Francisco and Spoleto (Charleston, South Carolina) festivals. He has also been regularly featured in the most important New York clubs, especially the Village Vanguard, where in July 2010 he recorded the album Live at the Village Vanguard with Marc Johnson and Paul Motian. This is the first album ever recorded by an Italian musician (and one of the very few by European musicians) in the legendary diamond shaped 7th Avenue venue. A second Live at the Village Vanguard, recorded in 2015 with Donny McCaslin, Scott Colley and Clarence Penn, has been released at the end of 2016. Enrico Pieranunzi has composed over 300 pieces, many of which have become standards performed and recorded by musicians all over the world (Night Bird, Don’t Forget the Poet, Fellini’s Waltz).

Rosario Giuliani was born in 1967 in Terracina (a nice small town on the sea, 76 kilometers southeast of Rome). His first musical hero was Charlie Parker, and from his earliest experiences with the alto sax Giuliani demonstrated a very original understanding of the bebop language. His style – influenced by Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Art Pepper, and John Coltrane – soon started to draw attention. In 1996 Giuliani won the Massimo Urbani prize. One year later he was named “Best Soloist” and his own quartet won the “Best Group” award at the European Jazz Contest in Belgium. In the year 2000 he took first place honors, by popular vote, in the “Top Jazz” contest (“New Talent” category) and in 2010 he was voted best saxophone player of the year in the annual referendum held by Musica Jazz magazine. He has collaborated with Phil Woods, Enrico Pieranunzi, Franco D’Andrea, Enrico Rava, Charlie Haden, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Martial Solal, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Mark Turner, John Patitucci, Joe LaBarbera, Richard Galliano and Kurt Elling, to name but a few. Between 2001 and 2013, he recorded several CDs with the French recording company Dreyfus Jazz (Luggage, Mr. Dodo, More Than Ever, Anything Else, Lennie’s Pennies, Images). An acclaimed performer and composer, Rosario Giuliani has played in major festivals and clubs all over Europe (including the Audi Jazz Festival and Jazz Baltica in Germany) as well as in Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Hong Kong, China). He currently teaches jazz saxophone at the Conservatorio di Musica S. Cecilia in Rome.