Although he's become an increasingly renowned saxophonist, Dave Pietro's fluid passages sound as though they were charted by a pianist. One is compelled to deduce that the decade he spent recording and touring as the lead alto saxophonist in Chinese pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi's jazz orchestra has quite a bit to do with Pietro's smooth phrasing. But there's also a highly evolved understanding of piano-like voicing at work in the musical mind of the young reed player from Southboro, Mass.
His fifth solo release, Embrace: Impressions of Brazil (A-Records) is a departure in many ways from his previous offerings in its exploration of Brazilian jazz, but Pietro says his love affair with the genre has been a long and satisfying one. The eight original compositions on the album (of 13 total) were written while Pietro was in Brazil, basking in the inspiration of Sao Paolo. And the spirit and culture of the place abound on the album.
Once back in New York, Pietro's home since 1987, he surrounded himself with the finest practitioners of Brazilian jazz on the hometown scene, resulting in a record that's lush with the flavors of South America in a unique fusion of East Coast post-bop.
Joining Pietro in revealing Embrace to an Albuquerque audience are pianist Helio Alves, vocalist/