By George Fendel
Goin’ Home, Sam Pannunzio, piano.
This very musical outing is the initial release for a new label out of the Seattle area, Eastside Jazz. The leader on the date is Pannunzio, a pianist out of Colorado Springs. His trio also includes Mark Bullis, bass, and Lionel Kramer, drums. Sad to say, Bullis passed on shortly after this recording was made, so it is, of course, dedicated to his memory. All the tunes are Pannunzio’s originals. Sometimes such an album, especially by a newer voice, can be a red flag. Not so here, as Pannunzio and the trio present nine examples of melodies that swing, make musical sense, show movement and grace, and, in a couple of cases, seem to have “cousinly” relationships to standards. Most importantly, Pannunzio is fluid and lyrical, showing a debt to Bill Evans, but with some real muscle here and there as well. I’d bet the mortgage that the guy knows the whole American Songbook, and on his next release, I’d like to hear him knock out some Mandel, Mercer and Monk! Until then, this is definitely an eye-opening debut.

2. CD Review – The Art of the Trio (
Jazzaholic by Don Albert: No wonder that Goin’ Home is getting a fair amount of airplay throughout the States, and was last known in the number one slot.

Below is the weekly spins report for WGLT Jazz (Jan 2 – 6, 2012). This report includes all current releases in rotation.

Spins Artist Title Label

12 Sam Pannunzio / Goin’ Home / East Side Jazz
10 Alan Leatherman / Detour Ahead / AJL Music
9 Christian McBride / Conversations With Christian / Mack Avenue
8 Stanley Jordan / Friends / Mack Avenue
8 Mary Louise Knutson / In The Bubble / Meridian Jazz
8 Anthony E. Nelson / Tenor For Two / Musicstand
8 Freddy Cole / Talk To Me / High Note
7 Marcus Roberts / New Orleans Meets Harlem / independent
Followed by tracks from such big names as Houston Person, Kenny Burrell, George Benson, Joey DeFrancesco and John Scofield to name a few.

So what’s so special about this CD?

Although the repertoire contains 9 originals, it’s pleasant, melodic jazz. It won’t shake the jazz world, but will be highly appreciated by those who enjoy good, swinging music while quaffing a glass of vintage red wine or, like me, a single malt whisky. Pianist Sam Pannunzio is an inventive eclectic pianist who uses light and shade in his music, it’s not just one monotonous drone. Bassist Mark Bullis not only provides a solid beat, but also excels as a soloist. The drummer is a local lad from Johannesburg who is making it in America, Lionel Kramer, he’s at the tiller steering the trio with either whispering brushes or pushing things along with sticks on his top cymbal. If I had to choose a track I think it would be “The Closer” which has the trio firing on all cylinders. Thank goodness there are still musicians like this who take a musical middle-of-the-road approach, while still maintaining originality. For more info email or

3. We are featured on the JazzNow! podcast–hit the link below and scroll down to Episode 69:

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