Embrace: Impressions of Brazil
Dave Pietro's Embrace: Impressions of Brazil (A-Records) grew out of a fondness for that country's music the saxophonist/composer developed during concert tours there. And unlike some jazz bossa nova sessions, this one meshes genuine Brazilian musical concepts with jazz. Excellent New York jazz musicians and top-flight Brazilian performers appear in a variety of instrumental settings, reading and improvising upon Pietro's own harmonically and rhythmically sophisticated compositions. While the music possesses the listener appeal one associates with Brazilian music, it can present a challenge to the improvisers, in that straight 4/4 meter is rare. Instead, the compositions generally employ shifting meters that give them a special rhythmic lift and keep the players on their toes.
As a player, Pietro possesses a handsome tone, a prodigious technique, and the ability to construct coherent improvised solos. For the two pieces he did not compose, "Canto Triste" and "Choro Bandido," he plays the neglected C-Melody saxophone, on which he produces a lovely, expressive sound. Three brief interludes by Valtinho Anastacio, singing and/or playing the birimbau or percussion, provide glimpses of Brazilian music at its purest.