FlynnSpace has hosted its share of jazz chops over the years‚ but perhaps none as such vigorous means-to-the-spiritual-ends of The Dave Pietro Sextet.
These practiced musicians imbued an ambitious composition‚ The Chakra Suite‚ based on the Hindu concept of power points of the human body‚ with logic and energy. The empathy between them reinforced how the themes of the individual pieces not only relate to each other in the overall concept‚ but also how they overlap through their musical motifs. The contemplative likes of "Ajna" allowed more space for the eloquent piano of Aaron Goldberg as well as the first of two authoritative solos from bassist Johannes Weidenmueller. The placement of each respective spotlight was indicative of the craft Pietro brings to his composing.
Likewise‚ the main melodic line of that piece was echoed in its conceptual opposite‚ "Manipura." The circular statement of the respective themes‚ intermingling Brazilian‚ Indian and blues styles‚ provided continuity to the single set as well as a change of pace. Still‚ the more upbeat likes of this particular number (based on the power chakra)‚ often driven by saxophonist Pietro and guitarist Rez Abbasi as their instruments intertwined‚ nevertheless mirrored the quieter pieces.
With some recitative from the bandleader between the playing of each of the seven pieces‚ there was the unfortunate sense of the band rebuilding their momentum as they began each successive piece. Perhaps with more time together‚ Pietro and company can summon their experience (and their collective courage) to play The Chakra Suite in its entirety‚ without interruption; using free playing to segue between the individual parts is a risky approach to be sure‚ but the band seems technically capable enough to bring it off‚ not to mention sufficiently earnest and empathetic to make it work.
Certainly as the 75 minutes drew to a fairly dramatic close‚ with percussion and vocals by Todd Isler on "Vishuddha" providing an effective setup for the release contained within the closer "Sahasrara‚" Pietro's sextet proved itself worthy of the spontaneous applause they elicited from the intimate audience throughout the evening. Should these musicians decide to take more chances when they play this music‚ they'll no doubt receive a unanimous standing ovation and calls for an encore neither they nor the venue will be able to resist.