Enrico Pieranunzi, pianist, composer and
arranger, was born in Rome on
December 5, 1949.
When he was only five and a half years old he began studying piano. At the same time his father, a guitarist, started introducing him to the wonders
and challenges of jazz improvisation as well. From then on Enrico kept on following a double road in music. In fact he developed his jazz style while
studying classical piano. When he was nineteen he began his professional career in Italy and since then he has worked with an abundance of bands, both Italian units and groups led by Americans.
His remarkably wide-ranging experiences include collaborations with jazz luminaries such as Johnny Griffin, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Lee Konitz, Jim
Hall. Since 1975 Pieranunzi has led his own groups, mostly trios, with which he has played clubs and festivals all over Europe (Zurich, Ravenna, Berlin,
Umbria Jazz, Madrid, Copenhagen among them). He also used to perform as unaccompanied pianist and still does to this very day.
His teaching experience, both in jazz and classical field, is also noteworthy. He is currently full professor of piano at the "Conservatorio
di Musica" in Frosinone. In 1984 Pieranunzi formed an American trio with Marc Johnson and Joey Baron. After their first album together (New Lands - Timeless) McCoy Tyner described Pieranunzi as "a new addition to the top-jazz pianoworld". In 1986 another highly appreciated album (Deep down - Soul Note) was
recorded by them. "No man's land" (1989 with Marc Johnson and Steve Houghton) and "First song" (1990 with Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins), both for Soul Note, made Pieranunzi's experience with American trios even richer and wider. As a close to his liner notes of the latter, well known jazz writer Nat Hentoff stated "these three have created music here that will last long beyond trends and fads because it is as basic as your life".
Still in 1990 Pieranunzi appeared as guest artist at the "Blue Ridge Music Festival" in Lynchburg, Virginia, playing with Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine. His performance in Virginia wasn't Pieranunzi's first time in USA. In fact in 1982 and 1985 he had already toured the States, gigging in New York and Boston, as well as performing and staging at Alabama and Tennessee Universities.
Voted "Musician of the year" in the "Musica Jazz" critics' poll in 1989, Pieranunzi has been said "to reveal himself as a very original musician and a talented composer, able to travel the high road with his own ideas and remarkable musical sensitivity". He "breathes new life into contemporary jazz" (Jazz Journal).