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Enrico Zanisi plays with an assuredness that belies his years with a wonderful touch, lyricism and swing.

Phil Markovitz – Manhattan School of Music 2009

 

Life Variations

The first sound on Italian pianist Enrico Zanisi’s deeply satisfying trio CD is the resonant, woody bass of Joe Rehmer. Unaccompanied and playing almost to himself, he lays down a short, four-bar phrase of loping quarter and half notes, a figure that bleeds over bar lines and establishes a smooth, easy feel to the tune. Zanisi, who can bring a subtle touch to his piano for one phrase and then sharp, steady accents the next, echoes the line with his left hand while drilling eighth-note chords to move the piece along. What once was drifting now has a groove, aided by Alessandro Paternesi’s funky kit work, and “Life Variations” takes off.
As on the title track, Zanisi is the star of the disc; he takes beautiful solo turns on the baroque-turned-scintillating slow jam “Carosello/Troppo Scuro” and the orchestral “Inno”. But his trio music is as much about the band as it is about Zanisi himself. The group creates delicate soundscapes, with Zanisi painting broadly with gradual contrasts in dynamics and accents, as well as minor tweaks in rhythm.
For the most part, the tunes don’t start off as aggressive or loud, but Zanisi can get confrontational in his deliberately articulated solo runs, and most of the tracks contain an orchestral swell to a climatic crescendo. Zanisi’s tunes are about the slow build. His modern original pieces—in which blues, bepop, swing and classical music coexist—are thoroughly complete compositions.
Such range in a band needs to be recorded with care, and this step is evident, giving Zanisi’s piano a singular presence in solo introductions, but letting all the instruments shine equally in a bright, lively environment. Life Variations shows the 22-year-old Italian pianist on the rise, aware of his classical past, but dedicated to his future in jazz.
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1/2/2013
Downbeat Jon Ros

 

The art of the modern trio

Enrico Zanisi is going back to the roots.
With the large flow of young Italian Jazz musicians pianist Enrico Zanisi appeared on the scene in 2012. As a child he played classical music; he has been practicing chamber music since age 8 in duo with violin, flute, violin and cello trio. He graduated cum laude from the Conservatory of L'Aquila. At the age of fifteen he encountered jazz, and soon after he began to perform in public. He accompanied singer Sheila Jordan, saxophonists David Liebman and Andy Sheppard and numerous Italian jazz musicians. In 2012 Zanisi was acclaimed as "Best New Talent" at the Top Jazz at Orvieto at Umbria Jazz Winter.
In January appeared Zanisi’s third trio-album, Keywords (2014, CAM JAZZ). The 24 year young Italian pianist is accompanied by bassist Joe Rehmer and drummer Alessandro Paternesi, with whom he recorded his well-received album Life Variations (2012, CAM JAZZ).
Zanisi states in his short autobiography on his website that he dreamed of becoming a rock star. Between the end of primary school and the beginning of high school he had set up a group with which he used to play the music of the rock bands Dream Theater, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Genesis and Led Zeppelin. With strong pieces, like “Claro”, “Power Fruits” and “Equilibre” Zanisi proofs that he has not lost his love for rock music.
Zanisi kicks off with “Claro” (Of Course), an up-tempo, solid, catchy piece, with a dominant role for Rehmer.
“Claro” is followed by the slow “Au Revoir” a piece that, as well as “No Truth”, is a nice and calm composition and fits well in the whole of the album because it brings the necessary rest beneath the more powerful pieces.
Then there is the silent “Beautiful Lies”, with a length of 7:07 minutes the longest track of the album, a number that continues to draw attention because of the close interplay of piano and bass. During the long piano- improvisation that is built around a romantic theme Zanisi proves he can effortlessly use different styles next to each other without losing unity.
These different styles come back into the track “Magic Numbers”. The song has a well thought composition. Zanisi begins and ends with a classic theme and his line culminates after a long improvisation in an infectious combination with Paternesi. As in Zanisi's first albums, Romantic composer Robert Schumann is present on Keywords. The piano sound of Schumann resounds in the compositions "Recitativo" and "Beautiful Lies". As encore Zanisi performs a version of "Träumerei", one of Schumann's "Kinderszenen", the well-known opus 15 with which Zanisi has won a prize in the past. This time the solo-piano-piece is accompanied by brushes and bass. The number is separate from the rest of the album and would fit better on Zanisi's debut album Quasi Troppo Serio (2010, Nuccia), which is named after another piece of Schumann’s "Kinderszenen" (Fast zu Ernst), but if it is considered in itself "Träumerei" is an authentic and appropriate tribute to Schumann.
All in all Keywords is a worthy successor of Life Variations. This is the bold sound of three well educated boys affording the freedom to play what they are good at.

1/10/2014
jazztimes.com

Robin Arends

 

Keywords

Keywords. The first that come to mind are: inventiveness, talent, musicality, technique, composition, fusion, courage.... Once again, the very young player from Rome (born in 1990) shows an amazing maturity in leading his trio through the recording of this sumptuous, kaleidoscopic album….The Roman pianist is definitely ready to enter the circle of Italy’s top jazzmen, as already stated by Musica Jazz magazine in 2012.

Liner Notes “Keywords” 2013
Franco Fayenz

 

Enrico Zanisi Trio: Keywords

Pianist Enrico Zanisi doesn’t necessarily want to change the world. Those familiar with the lineage of the piano trio, stretching from Bill Evans through Keith Jarrett to Brad Mehldau, will recognise the aesthetic here: singing melodies and extended harmony blended in a cauldron of free-flowing grooves and group interplay. Okay, so Zanisi and his regular partners (bassist Joe Rehmer and drummer Alessandro Paternesi) are more likely to rock than swing, but it’s a loose, open kind of funk that leaves plenty of room for light and shade. Over it, the young Italian’s melodies have a crystalline clarity, uncluttered by gratuitous technique. There’s plenty under the hood, but it’s always put to the service of the music. If Zanisi keeps this up, he’ll be well on his way to adding to the trio lineage he reveres.

7/2/2014
irishtimes.com

Cormac Larkin

 

Enrico Zanisi Keywords

La "musica forte". Nelle attente e meticolose note di copertina, Franco Fayenz, che non abbisogna di presentazioni ed elogi, ricorda come "gli esperti più avveduti" appellino oggi in tal modo la musica classica. Mettiamo da parte la bontà e la pertinenza dell'aggettivo, per lasciare indossare il concetto alla musica di Enrico Zanisi: ecco, qui calza a pennello. Enrico Zanisi ha ventiquattro anni: per le età del jazz è un adolescente, e non sono di tanto più vecchi Joe Rehmer (che ne ha trenta) e Alessandro Paternesi (trentuno primavere). Un trio fresco, giovane: sì, ma con tanto mestiere alle spalle. Almeno così s'ascolta sin dalle prime note.
Le mani di Zanisi sono da "musica forte", perché i suoi studi sono anche nella classica, che appare sempre meno distante dal jazz (ammesso che vi sia stata una vera e proprio lontananza), e la sua diteggiatura non lo nasconde. In verità, anche le sue composizioni parlano un linguaggio che polverizza ogni distinzione di generi. Diretto e immediato, forbito quanto basta già dal brano d'esordio: Claro che lascia suonare la migliore Mitteleuropa tardoromantica con incalzanti spezzature ritmiche e metriche che sono sottolineate dall'imperioso lavoro di Rehmer e Paternesi. Tinte corrugate e pensose in Au revoir, che danno luce alla precisione e alla cura del suono del pianista, che – per sua ammissione – sognava i Dream Theatre. La straordinaria maturità "immatura" di Zanisi libera un florilegio di note che si susseguono con tale garbo e nitidezza da intersecarsi alla perfezione nelle sue strutture compositive: Beatiful Liesne è la riprova; così come Equilibre, focosa e ardita che si annida nella fusion, ma anche nelle pieghe dei migliori dettami scandinavi, seguono la scia Power Fruits e la gioiosamente spigolosa Magic Numbers, dove il repertorio pianistico jazz viene sciorinato a puntino. Il gioco telepatico tra i tre riesce a meraviglia anche nei tempi più slow con le spazzole di Paternesi a disegnare perfetti cerchi ritmici, e con la linea di basso di Rehmer, piena, rotonda e dalle maglie larghe (No Truth). La traccia melodica marcata viene fuori meglio nel piano solo di Recitativo. L'impressione è che Zanisi possa permettersi tutto e con estrema facilità. Il suo linguaggio è personale, nonostante i paragoni e le similitudini si sprechino (ma in Italia non se ne sa fare a meno).
Nove brani originali e una sola "cover": Träumerei che appartiene a Robert Schumann. E questa parla più di qualsiasi ulteriore spiegazione.

22/7/2014
jazzitalia.net

Alceste Ayroldi

 

…Nel caso di Zanisi, quindi, vista anche la giovane età, non è peregrina la domanda se ci si trovi davanti ad un nuovo Massimo Urbani: è sicuramente anche lui un geniaccio, fra i pianisti, il paragone più immediato potrebbe essere Luca Flores...

Marco Maimeri – Premio Roma Jam Session 2007

 

Corale, traccia quattro. Difficile ascoltare questo brano a tempo lento, dalle note distillate e sofferte, e non rimanerne rapiti. La Musica, il suo interplay trasmettono maturità e profondità che non si sospetterebbero in un così giovane pianista. Eppure il romano Enrico Zanisi ha tecnica, classe e sa far vibrare le note con intensità emotiva. Questo cd è una preziosa boccata d'ossigeno per chi crede che il jazz non sia confinato nell'accademia, nel glamour o nell'intrattenimento.

2010
Recensione del CD "Quasi troppo serio"
Luigi Onori (Alias, Il Manifesto)

 
   
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