Now Becoming Then is saxophonist-composer, Dave Pietro’s third release for Dutch-basedA-Records. Pietro is a smooth operator whether performing on soprano, alto or C-melody saxophones which is very much evident from the opening seconds of the breezy and tightly arranged title track, “Now Becoming Then”. Here, Pietro’s crisp, fluent and melodic phrasing on alto-sax rides atop a medium tempo swing complete with shifting rhythms, dynamics and a satiny flugelhorn solo by the talented Scott Wendholt. Pietro shows effortless command of his alto along with peppery support from ace drummer Brian Blade and hard-edged electric guitar by Pete McCann on the piece titled, “Gifts”. On this piece the band merge Bop with swing enhanced by an adventurous attitude. Wendholt and the excellent trombonist, Pete McGuinness trade fours over a burgeoning and quite potent Latin motif on “Vicissitudes” as the band convey a sunny outlook here and throughout. “Permission Granted” is an affable, mid-tempo swing as it is apparent that Pietro possesses a fine compositional pen besides his laudable prowess as a skilled and quite seasoned technician. The ensemble tackle the standard, “Alone Together” featuring strong and emphatic piano work by Mike Holober as the band come at you from all angles with spark and momentum. Guitarist Pete McCann soars into the ozone with high register harmonics, split-tones and rapid fretwork on the albums closer, titled “Maitri”.
No doubt about it, Pietro is a fine soloist who owns a distinctive sound and style, yet Now Becoming Then excels as a hip, memorable and thoroughly enjoyable outing which should enjoy widespread appeal. * * * *
Dave Pietro; Soprano, Alto & C-Melody Saxophones: Scott Wendholt; Flugelhorn and Trumpet: Pete McGuinness; Trombone: Pete McCann; Electric & Acoustic Guitar: Mike Holober; Piano: Scott Colley; Bass: Brian Blade; Drums: Todd Isler; Hadgini,Janoon, Kaujira & Shakers: