All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Dave Pietro: New Road: Iowa Memoirs

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
In essence, New Road: Iowa Memoirs is the story of an urbanite's awakening to the rural lure. But to state this album's meaning in such reductive terms is to minimize its power and undercut the very beauty that inspired its creation in the first place.

Back in 2011 and 2012, The University of Iowa tapped multi-reedist Dave Pietro to serve as an artist-in-residence for several weeks at that institution and surrounding schools. While Pietro, a mainstay on the New York scene for the past three decades, had essentially seen it all by that point, the Iowa countryside's beauty and majesty managed to offer something refreshing in its Midwestern appeal. Those visits were the impetus behind this music, encouraging Pietro to paint his midland experiences in sound.

The album's opening track—"Sunrise On The Muscatine Highway"—has a mystically winsome draw in its introduction. Pietro, pianist Gary Versace, and percussionist Rogerio Boccato capture aurora's many-hued arrival there before heading out to the highway. Inspired by an early morning eastward drive and a Mark Twain quote extolling the virtues of the colorful daybreak over Muscatine, this composition perfectly transfers the visual into the visceral realm. "Sleep Prairie, Sleep" follows, serving as something of a companion piece. It similarly draws life from time spent on Iowa's roads and speaks again to mystery and awe, but its a more understated affair. The core quintet at work shows great restraint and range in representing the slumbering prairies in shadowy winter while Pietro, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin (on flugelhorn), and Versace each demonstrate their sonic singularity.

As the album moves on, its scope in style and substance expands. "It's A Half Decent Muffin" has an artfully edgy free-bop posture and an interesting origin story, as Pietro recorded part of a conversation about morning pastries, transcribed the rhythms of that talk, and used them as germs for the song's melody; "The Sanctuary," inspired by an Iowa pub of the same name, is a balladic gem that speaks to all of our individual refuges and gives well-earned space to bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and the leader; and "Heartland" moves from pianistic quietude to pure joy, capturing the warm feelings surrounding the friendships made and experiences had through these sojourns in the Hawkeye State.

The two-part "TRavel Guide," inspired by a performance of Ravel's String Quartet in F that Pietro witnessed during the first of his Iowa residencies, then brings the album to its end. Both parts use the DNA of the second movement of that Ravel composition as its basis, but each speaks in different accents: "TRavel Guide -Part 1," fronted by Pietro's flute, has a more relaxed flow, while its kin presents with buoyant zest.

In the sights, sounds, spaces, and sunrises of Iowa, Dave Pietro has discovered and embraced what he's long encountered (and helped create) in composer Maria Schneider's musical renderings of her Windom, Minnesota homeland: the indescribable wonders of the American countryside. While Pietro's renown largely surrounds his work in the most groundbreaking large ensembles of the day, New Road: Iowa Memoirs serves as a reminder that his small group efforts deserve a much wider audience and closer look.

Track Listing: Sunrise On The Muscatine Highway; Sleep Prairie, Sleep; It's A Half-Decent Muffin; The Sanctuary; Heartland; TRavel Guide - Part 1; TRavel Guide - Part 2.

Personnel: Dave Pietro: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; flute; clarinet; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gary Versace: piano; Johannes Weidenmueller: bass; Johnathan Blake: drums; Rogerio Bocatto: percussion (1, 5, 6).

Title: New Road: Iowa Memoirs | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ArtistShare

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album" CD/LP/Track Review Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Trollskogen" CD/LP/Track Review Trollskogen
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Der Dichter Spricht" CD/LP/Track Review Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Intention" CD/LP/Track Review Intention
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 10, 2018
Read "North Greenbush Blues" CD/LP/Track Review North Greenbush Blues
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Sorrows & Triumphs" CD/LP/Track Review Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018