Charlie Haden, Chet Baker, Enrico Pieranunzi & Billy Higgins | Silence


If in Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis was the "weakest" of the ensemble, who is in this quartet the "mediocre" between Charlie Haden, Chet Baker, Billy Higgins and our Enrico Pieranunzi? As well as polemicising, we could argue around this question and its relative answer, but it is not the right thing to do for two reasons: for a question of politically correct and because who cares in the end? The truth is, that the ensemble reason for being is quite complex: it is a "supergroup" and like all the supergroups, the artistic visions - and the hearths - are more than one! We are dealing with one of the reference rhythmic sections of the entire Jazz Encyclopedia, a simply unique trumpeter-singer and, among these American people, an Italian pianist who, twenty years later, would occupy the place he deserves in the continental jazz. The complexity of this quartet primarily starts from the two top players: Charlie Haden and Chet Baker. Their commitment in this album is strong, although with the eyes of the present is difficult to put into focus the two names of this project: it is simpler getting lost in two fundamental but also dispersive discographies. Charlie Haden's artistic diagonal line passes both from the seminal Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz double quartet, and in the duos with the guitarist Antonio Forcione, recently recorded for Naim. Then, there is the cult for Chet Baker, a singer and trumpeter capable of imposing his delirious lyricism everywhere, from the jazz clubs to the most prestigious concert halls, where "delirious" is clearly meant as an appreciation.


When the west coaster cool meets the modernism of the so-called “bop”, the outcomes are albums like Silence. Originally issued under the Soul Note label, Silence is the splendid result of that great work that the Bonadrini family has made since the '70s up to the new millennium with three fundamental collections for the national, but mostly international jazz: Soul Note, Black Saint and Dischi della Quercia. Silence was recorded at the CMC Studio in Rome six months before Baker's death, to whom this album is dedicated. The year is 1987, the period over the most abulic years in the critic interpretation of the jazz history due to the lost of a master direction that followed the multiple revolutions of the '70s, the post-Coltrane and the post-Miles that still nowadays have some remains.

We can find here both standards and original tracks, where the artistic peaks are concentrated in the track Silence, written by Haden, and My Funny Valentine, rhapsodic evergreen signed by the couple Rodgers-Hart. This is the best version of Silence that is available on whatever support: never before this track has been made with such mastery and inspiration and here it is palpable the sensation that the musician sensitivity is on edge. It is a ballad on staled times, where the piano goes on classical shores and the brushes of the drums prick on the jazz side bringing the piece with a simple but intriguing rhythm. The other peak is My Funny Valentine: sung or instrumental, with this track we are in the core of the songbook that made great the American song. One of the ever most celebrated standards, forte of several stars, Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis above all, but the vocal interpreter par excellence is Chet Baker indeed. Only Baker seems able to handle till the end the shifty undulations of this piece and, of the many times he has recorded it, in this album it becomes more than ever a fight between angels and demons. His vocality digs up the track with a very saturated color, squeezing from the melody every microdrop, balanced and balancing only by his trumpet. Perfect the accompaniment: it is as if the sirens in a hypnotic state leaded the other performers, maybe they are indeed, but it is about respect and artistic intelligence!


This edition has also other producing competences. The rights on the master pertain to the Get Back/Abraxas group and in this GN Records reissue, Gold Note label - Soul Note/Gold Note: a curios assonance of the names...- the "physical" realization of the record has been very well minded. This is the best performing version of this album: 180 gr. of high sonic and artistic value.

A key point of the Gold Note intervention is the usual and obsessive attention for the recorded template and to the following phase of galvanic treatment, which give an appreciable outcome. The sound is just amber from the parkerian Visa - Side A, first track - the dynamics and the rise time in the starts are great and the sounds come out well. The soundstage is circle bowed with the depth kept reduced: Haden is not the musician that makes him recorded two steps behind the others. Just a criticism on the drum set: the sound of the kick is too closed. The piano is, on the contrary, quite narrow in the right slice of the soundstage.


For the lovers of the label and Charlie Haden's fans: The Complete Recordings on Black Saint and Soul Note, box of five remastered CDs by CAM Jazz.


Charlie Haden, Chet Baker, Enrico Pieranunzi & Billy Higgins


GN Records/GET0723


Total time 44’06’’


by Luca
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