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Musician

John Pietaro

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JOHN PIETARO: spoken word artist and percussionist - drum kit, conga, bongos, glockenspiel, frame drums, vibraphone, numerous small percussives; doubles include vocals, guitar. -THE RED MICROPHONE free jazz/poetry quartet with John Pietaro (poetry/percussion), Ras Moshe (reeds, flute), Rocco John Iacovone (reeds), Laurie Towers (electric bass). CDs: 'Amina Baraka & the Red Microphone' (ESP-Disk 2017); 'The Red Microphone Speaks!' (Dissident Arts 2013); "Brecht Breakdown" on IFAR Compilation "The Beat Sounds from Way Out" (IFAR, UK, 2012) -FLAMES OF DISCONTENT post-punk/neo-Beat duo with John Pietaro (poetry/electric guitar/vocals/percussion) and Laurie Towers (electric bass) -THE DISSIDENT ARTS ORCHESTRA, a large improvisatory ensemble with a roving line-up performing silent film scores often synced by New Allied Artists Studio, UK. Pietaro has often performed with RAS MOSHE's various ensembles and was a member of KARL BERGER'S IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA over its first six years (performances at the original Stone, the Jazz Gallery, El Taller)

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Article: Album Review

The New Muse 4Tet: Blue Lotus

Read "Blue Lotus" reviewed by John Pietaro


The New Muse 4Tet, led by violinist/violist Gwen Laster, is a post-modern, plain-speakng incarnation of the string quartet, augmented by tabla and voice. Laster has engaged in a series of such ensembles and has also served well under the leaderships of Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, the Sun Ra Arkestra, William Parker, Danny Elfman and others. ...

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Article: Live From New York

Shelley Hirsch: Back with a Vengeance

Read "Shelley Hirsch: Back with a Vengeance" reviewed by John Pietaro


It took Brooklyn's Roulette performance space to break COVID-19's hold on Shelley Hirsch. Now, it seems there'll be no stopping her. The vocal acrobat, poet and performance artist was a new music original long before “downtown" moved across the East River. An original member of the avant rock band The Public Servants, Hirsch also ...

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Article: Album Review

Steve Swell: Astonishments

Read "Astonishments" reviewed by John Pietaro


Among the trombonists of New York's downtown scene, or uptown for that matter, no one even comes close to Steve Swell. His level of artistry, ability to create within any sonic cloud, compositional strengths and sheer fortitude set a new standard decades ago. Deemed a veteran of the new music that tore up the 1970s and ...

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Article: Album Review

Tower of Power: 50 Years of Funk and Soul

Read "50 Years of Funk and Soul" reviewed by John Pietaro


In the realm of power funk and jazz-rock, Tower of Power was an original voice, one carved from a unique place within an exceptionally heady moment. And this convergence of forces, clearly, has yet to cool some 53 years hence. Horns? They've carried up to six at a time, to hell with diminished door ...

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Article: Catching Up With

Allison Miller: Driving the Balance

Read "Allison Miller: Driving the Balance" reviewed by John Pietaro


Allison Miller sits at the vintage Camco drumkit in her Brooklyn home, playing post-bop over a rolling samba. Within the shimmer of an age-darkened cymbal, she switches from sticks to brushes, filling the room with the shush of summer rain, then a sudden hailstorm as her arms, aerial, traverse snare, tom-toms and cymbals in a blurring, ...

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Article: Year in Review

John Pietaro's "Test" Of 2020

Read "John Pietaro's "Test" Of 2020" reviewed by John Pietaro


It would be a fool's errand in a covid-damaged society to attempt a peaceably gathered year's end “Best of" list, in jazz or any other genre or medium. But artists of jazz and all avant gardes have been especially susceptible to the considerable financial ebbing and health concerns of this period. Discussing this concept with my ...

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Article: Album Review

Chicago Soul Jazz Collective: It Takes a Spark to Start a Fire

Read "It Takes a Spark to Start a Fire" reviewed by John Pietaro


Solace. Listening to classic 1960s soul-jazz as an escape from today's stresses united the musicians who founded the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective. Many of us know of that comfort, the one carried by a cursory view of nostalgia. But don't look too close. Tenor saxophonist John Fournier and trumpet player Marques Carroll built a band on ...

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Article: Profile

Raul Midon: Flamenco’s Fire Into The Cool

Read "Raul Midon: Flamenco’s Fire Into The Cool" reviewed by John Pietaro


Leaning into the tenacious chordal structure of “Bad Ass and Blind," Raul Midon's surging flurries, stinging dyads and whirling solos over nylon strings speak with artful determination. His vocals and guitar in aerial unison can be intoxicating. In his voice one hears terse vibrato, a searching, spiritual tone and the strain of hardship. Celebrated. For the ...

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Article: Jazz Poetry

Poetry and Jazz: A Chronology

Read "Poetry and Jazz: A Chronology" reviewed by Duncan Heining


My intention here is to offer a detailed but inevitably incomplete chronology of poetry and jazz. The focus is solely on the combination of the two art forms in performance, not on poetry about jazz or jazz musicians or poetry inspired by jazz but not performed to music. My definition of 'poetry' is fairly broad and ...


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