Chakras, for anyone who hasn’t taken a yoga class, are seven “body centers” (the first, Muladhara, is at the base of the spine, for instance) that also represent spiritual and emotional elements of the body, in addition to the physical. Saxophonist Dave Pietro, commissioned to write a musical piece by the New Works: Creation and Presentation Program of Chamber Music America, used the chakras “solely as an organizing principle” in creating The Chakra Suite, performed here by his sextet, including Rez Abbasi (guitars), Gary Versace (keyboards), Johannes Weidenmueller (bass), Adam Cruz (drums) and Todd Isler (percussion). It isn’t unusual for artists to create based on some outside structure or idea, and it isn’t unusual for that structure or idea not to be apparent to an audience, such is the case here. For example, in Bill Milkowski’s liner notes, Pietro, referring to the fifth chakra, Vishuddha, which is in the throat and hence evokes communication, says that it suggested to him creating a blues: “What better way to tell your story than through the blues?”
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