Primary Instrument: Saxophone
A native of Southboro, Massachusetts, Dave Pietro has been on the New York jazz scene since 1987. His talents as a gifted saxophonist, composer, and educator have made him an in-demand musician leading to performances at jazz clubs, jazz festivals, schools and concert halls in more than 30 countries throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America.
From 1994-2003 Dave played lead alto saxophone and recorded six CD’s with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. He has also toured and/or recorded with the bands of Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Maria Schneider, The Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, John Fedchock, Arturo O’Farrill and Jim Widner among others. In addition Pietro has performed with may other well known musicians such as Paul Anka, Louis Bellson, Blood Sweat & Tears, Bobby Caldwell, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Feinstein, Chaka Khan, Liza Minnelli, James Naughton and John Pizzarelli. Dave also studies East Indian music and has performed with various groups led by Indian tablist Sandip Burman.
As a leader, Dave has released five CD’s with musicians such as Dave Holland, Kenny Werner, Ben Monder, Bill Stewart, Brian Blade, Scott Colley, David Berkman, Scott Wendholt, Duduka De Fonseca, Helio Alves and Pete McCann. Now Becoming Then (1999 A-Records) was called a “rich feast for listeners” by Bill Bennett of Jazz Times. “Standard Wonder-The Music of Stevie Wonder” (A-Records) was voted one of the top 10 jazz CD’s of 2001 by Bob Blumenthal of the Boston Globe and Bill Milkowski of Jazz Times and received 4 stars from Downbeat magazine. Pietro’s fifth CD “Embrace: Impressions of Brazil” (2004 A-Records) “is a triumph...one of the most satisfying Brazilian jazz mixes since the first bossa nova tsunami” according to Judith Schlesinger of AllAboutJazz.com.
Dave was selected as a semi-finalist for the first two Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Saxophone Competitions (1991 & 1996) and was a finalist in the 1995 JAZZIZ Magazine Woodwinds on Fire talent search. In 1996 he was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2002 he was selected as runner-up in the Second Annual Jazzconnect.com International Jazz Competition. In 2005 he was the recipient of a grant from Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation and Presentation Program and recently recorded his newly commissioned piece “The Chakra Suite” with Gary Versace, Rez Abbasi, Todd Isler, Johannes Weidenmueller and Adam Cruz. It is due to be released in October 2008.
Pietro holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from North Texas State University where he toured and recorded four albums with the school's One O'Clock Lab Band. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in jazz composition from New York University. Currently he is an adjunct faculty member for Hofstra University and New York University. He also has given hundreds of workshops and concerts at schools around the country. Dave is sponsored by Rico Reeds and the Conn-Selmer Instrument Company.
...a superb saxophonist...a very accomplished composer. Paul Evoskevich - Saxophone Journal
Pietro has great chops and a profound imagination, and possesses a warm, accessible, lyrical sound... Lee Lowenfish - New York Jazz Newsletter
Though gifted with virtuosic technique, Pietro makes his point with a lyrical sensibility grounded in the soul of evocatively crafted charts. Pietro voices clearly delineated lines with one of the most appealing alto sounds in jazz. Eschewing theatrics, he swings with a postbop abandon in which every note, every phrase, every solo rings true. Chuck Berg - Jazz Times Magazine
Pietro writes tunes that are both colorful and complex, yet provide plenty of room for creative improvisation. He places his full sounding alto sax right in the middle of the proceedings, creating solos that are rooted in the jazz tradition, but are remarkably cliche free. Alan Chase - Spotlight (Portsmouth Herald)
“As a soloist, Pietro demonstrates power, energy, intelligence and humor. As a composer and band leader, he shows a love for music that swings, but maintains harmonic and melodic complexity.” Frank Alkyer - Downbeat Magazine
“Pietro is a smooth operator whether performing on soprano, alto or C-melody saxophones...he shows effortless command of his alto and it is apparent that Pietro possesses a fine compositional pen besides his laudable prowess as a skilled and quite seasoned technician. No doubt about it, Pietro is a fine soloist who owns a distinctive sound and style.” Glenn Astarita - AllAboutJazz.com
...a radiant soloist. His improvisations take on color and emotional heat as he swings with fury. Dr. Herb Wong - Jazz Educators Journal
The most noteworthy characteristics of Pietro's playing are the pure tone and smooth phrasing, as well as the attention to melody that pervades his solos and his pleasing, gently swinging compositions. Jon Andrews - Downbeat Magazine
He has his own distinctive sound and approach. It's apparent that Pietro has the chops needed to keep the jazz mainstream fresh... Lou Kannenstine - Green Mountain Jazz Messenger
Dave is a consummate saxophonist and composer... with a very unique approach to the jazz language. He combines a netherworld of harmonic intensity and tasteful altissimo...with sensitive and tasteful blowing. Tim Price - Saxophone Journal
“On Now Becoming Then saxophonist Pietro has prepared a rich feast for listeners..” Bill Bennett - Jazz Times Magazine
“Alto saxophonist Dave Pietro possesses a beautiful sound. He also has terrific command of the saxophone, a great time feel, plenty of imagination and a gift as a composer.” Billy Kerr - Saxophone Journal
“Juba is written with a rhythmic, melodic and harmonic sophistication that everyone has come to expect from saxophone virtuoso Dave Pietro, one of the finest composers of our time. “ Wayne Goins. JAM (Jazz Ambassadors Magazine)
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
New York University adjunct faculty (1999-present). Hofstra University adjunct faculty (2001-present). For more information go to www.davepietro.com.
Dave is a Conn-Selmer artist and has given concerts and workshops at hundreds of schools across the country. For more information go to www.davepietro.com.