I met Jamie Saft when he was a college student. It was clear then that he was already a virtuoso piano player. Years passed and we lost touch. In those years he played everything and his reputation grew. His great talent has allowed him to consistently change, adding new ideas and material to his playing, and new people to his community. And doing so brought him to where he is now with a version of virtuosity that like his heroes is unique, and rare.
His touch and the brightness of his sound show the influence of Bill Evans, Monk, and Miles Davis. His lyricism and the careful simplicity of his playing highlight his love for Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Bob Marley. His comfort in open forms where he tells stories and builds spaces with groups of notes, dense clusters, dynamic energy and blocks of sustain show his respect for Charles Ives, Cecil Taylor and and perhaps most importantly Alice Coltrane. All of those great artists found their own way to express what Jamie calls “deepness”. Being a truly contemporary musician, his approach to “deepness” relies on reaching for it on the spot, in the moment, making new music that’s deep for the listener now.
As a fortunate collaborator of Jamie’s I can say that his approach to ensemble interplay is also unique. Jamie doesn’t tell us to do anything, he plays with us in ways that express the deepness of his regard for us and our collective creativity. He looks at us and nods his head in support, approval and agreement, he contributes and accepts whatever ideas emerge shaping all of it into music. The on-stage irie is a major part of his performance process.
This set features Charles Downs on drums. Some may know him as Rashid Bakr, who worked with Cecil Taylor for many years. I have never played with any musician let alone any drummer who is more flexible or more collaborative than Charles. Playing with him feels as if every second of the music is being configured differently because he never relies on cliches’, instead he listens with his artistry and plays with spontaneous invention. He has been my hero since the early 1980’s. I know he’s also one of Jamie Saft’s heroes now.
Together we work with a lot of material gathered in our individual experiences, striving always to add something new on the spot, reading the signals immediately, shaping our decisions together, searching for the things that take us and our audience there, to that place, the one that can’t really be described in words.
released July 10, 2020
Jamie Saft, Joe Morris, Charles Downs- "Mountains"
Jamie Saft- piano, Fender Rhodes
Joe Morris- acoustic bass
Charles Downs- drums
Recorded live by Vin Cin at Happylucky No.1, Brooklyn, NY
Mixed by Jamie Saft at Potterville International Sound, NY
Mastered by Christian Castagno in Minca, Colombia
Art and design by Ramona Saft
All songs written by Jamie Saft, Joe Morris, Charles Downs
All songs published by PAIN MANAGEMENT (ASCAP) and RITI publishing (ASCAP)
Jamie Saft is a virtuoso pianist, keyboardist, producer, and composer from NY. His work has been featured with Iggy Pop,
Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, The B-52's, Roswell Rudd, John Zorn, John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Antony & the Johnsons, and more. He scored the Oscar-nominated "Murderball" and Sundance winner "God Grew Tired Of Us." (Photos: Michael Bloom Photography c. 2017 and Vin Cin c. 2015)....more
Total mastery of patience, time, and drama create a constantly engaging journey that never gets tiresome or same-y: in fact the harder you listen the better it gets! Somehow Sorey et al. find a way to combine the deep listening and spontaneous interaction of the best jazz with the sense of every tone and sound being worth a universe of listening, which could be equally from Cage and Feldman or the accompaniment to an ancient ritual.
The recording/engineering is absolutely perfect as well. Giles