|With Pieranunzi the lineage to the late pianist Bill Evans is clear, and given Johnson’s place in Evans' last trio before his death, it seems almost inevitable. This group, Pieranunzi's so-called American Trio, manifests the same sense of interplay, but on a level so subtle that it’s more felt than heard.
The programme is a mix of six Pieranunzi originals and one tune each by Baron, Billy Strayhorn, and three lesser-known composers. Luigi Tenco's poignant “Mi Sono Innamorator de Te” is the same song that Pieranunzi used to lead off his tribute to the late singer/poet/composer, Danza Di Una Ninfa (EGEA, 2005), and it sets the mood for the entire record. Pieranunzi avoids the radical reharmonizations that have become so commonplace these days; his deep reverence for the song makes it all the more significant when, during his solo, he subtly builds the intensity with a series of syncopated chords. Johnson and Baron remain in perfect synchronicity, responding to Pieranunzi while retaining the understated elegance that defines the tune.
The simplest stories often reveal the greatest depth. So, too, can the simplest songs yield richer meaning. Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi makes that abundantly clear with Ballads, an album so gentle it can almost pass by unnoticed. But pay attention and what may appear to be a collection of easy-on-the-ears songs prove to be much more.
John Kelman - All About Jazz