Storyville Records

Best in Jazz Since 1952

Storyville Records is Europe’s oldest independent jazz label. It releases a rich variety of jazz, blues and related musical genres, often accompanied by authoritative notes and rare extras. This iconic label was founded in 1952 in Denmark and today continues to augment its unique historic catalogue of recordings made by visiting American jazz and blues legends with new releases from contemporary jazz artists.

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The late Lee Konitz is honoured on this classic recording, recorded as part of the Jazzpar Awards. This release showcases the work of Konitz in a variety of settings all derived from the JAZZPAR All Star Nonet directed by saxophonist Jens Søndergaard. It begins with three tracks recorded by Radio Denmark during the actual final concert of the series in Copenhagen’s Falkoner Scenen. Sadly, although this reissue has been in preparation for some months, it has now turned into a memorial for Konitz, who died at the age of 92 from complications of the virus Covid_19 on April 15, 2020.

Lee Konitz was one of the most highly valued individualists of the entire field of jazz. His recordings from as early as 1947, the year he turned 20, show that the basis of his unique style was already formed, partly under the influence of fellow Chicagoan Lennie Tristano. This fact was remarkable enough, in an era when all the other saxophonists who weren’t actively clinging to the approach of Johnny Hodges, Willie Smith or Benny Carter were trying desperately to catch up with Charlie Parker. But Konitz was developing an almost pianistic process, in which his lines were not dictated by what was easy for his instrument and, in addition, were not given a deliberately emotive profile by the articulation and tonal variety of the saxophone.

Available for streaming on your favorite streaming service here.

Available on CD here.

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Enrico Pieranunzi / Paul Motian / Marc Johnson: The Copenhagen Concert

Enrico Pieranunzi has been a popular guest in Copenhagen for over 30 years, where he has played with elite Danish musicians like Mads Vinding, Alex Riel and Jesper Lundgaard. In recent years he has collaborated closely in a duo context with the phenomenal bassist Thomas Fonnesbæk and the two, together, were soon able to achieve new heights of creativity.

Pieranunzi is an exceptional pianist, whether he’s playing solo, duo or trio. Melodically, harmonically, and not least of all rhythmically, he is “out of this world”. He has something you simply don’t hear with other musicians. Part of the explanation is likely due to a unique combination of influences, from his deep roots in classical and Italian music to his collaboration with iconic film composer Ennio Morricone and jazz giants like Chet Baker and Art Farmer. The rest – and most importantly – is due to Enrico himself.

On this recording, from December 1996 at the legendary and now closed Copenhagen Jazzhouse, he is joined by two masters in their own right; Marc Johnson on bass and Paul Motian on drums. This trio plays with virtuosity and force that shines through on every note and beat.

The album opens with the tempo filled track Abacus, written by Motian. A track that has a playfulness and displays the three musicians’ genuine interaction and functions as a conversation between the piano and bass. Both the technique as well as feel is top-level as the musical resources are in free flow. The Night Gone By, written by Pieranunzie, starts with more of a ballad feel before a bass solo transcends the track into a higher tempo midway lead by the piano, before coming back to its initial softer feel at the end. Album closer Pannonica, a Thelonius Monk penned classic, has more of a swing feel to it, has more of a swing feel to it and closes the album in style.

Pieranunzi, the Italian piano master, is recognized as one of the best European jazz pianists and as a pianist, composer and arranger he has recorded more than 70 albums.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2020