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Dave Pietro: Wind Dance

Alto saxman Pietro is someone to watch. Teaming with pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Bill Stewart-the tandem which backed Pietro so effectively in Forgotten Dreams, his highly regarded 1996 leader debut-Pietro voices clearly delineated lines with one of the most appealing alto sounds in jazz. His warmly centered tone is complemented with an unerring sense of pitch. Eschewing theatrics, he swings with a postbop abandon in which every note, every phrase, every solo rings true.

Pietro’s persona is multi-dimensional. At times, he’s a minimalist spinning out Ornette-nuanced arabesques in originals such as “Joyance.” He’s also a postmodern swinger whose sinewy swagger pumps up romps like “Fortitude.” In “Wind Dance,” Pietro proves a compelling soprano saxophonist, while in “Juba” and “Ashes,” his command over the recalcitrant C melody saxophone yields luxuriant darker shades. Throughout, Werner, Holland, Stewart-and guitarist Bruce Saunders, who guests on several tracks-add considerable elan, making this one of the best small group dates of 1998.

Originally Published