Jamie Saft Plays Joe Morris
Jamie Saft Plays Joe Morris by Jamie Saft is now streaming and available for download.
A limited number of signed CDs are available through Bandcamp.
To celebrate the new release, Jamie Saft played selections by Joe Morris (Choices, Versioning) at Team Love in New Paltz on June 26, 2021.
Jamie Saft Plays Joe Morris (Veal Records)
01 Paradoxical 1 Piano
02 Paradoxical 2 Piano
03 Paradoxical 3 Piano & Toy Piano
04 Versioning Piano
05 Switches 1 Piano
06 Switches 2 Piano and Marimba
07 Paradoxical 4 Piano and Toy Piano
08 Paradoxical 5 Piano
09 Switches 3 Piano
10 Switches 4 Piano Roll
11 Choices 1 Piano
12 Choices 2 Piano
13 Switches 5 Toy Piano
14 Proximity 1 Fender Rhodes
15 Proximity 2 Fender Rhodes
16 Proximity 3 Fender Rhodes
17 Proximity 4 Fender Rhodes
18 Switches 6 Piano Roll
Jamie Saft- piano, toy piano, marimba, Fender Rhodes electric piano, piano roll
All compositions written by Joe Morris and Published by Riti Pub. (ASCAP) Produced, Arranged, and Performed by Jamie Saft
Piano prepared and tuned by Ray Johnson R.P.T.
Recorded by Jamie Saft at Potterville International Sound, NY Mixed and Mastered by Christian Castagno in Minca, Colombia.
Cover by Steven Erdman Design by Graham Schreiner Photo by Coco Saft
Paradoxical (2018) Versioning (2019) Switches (2019) Choices (2010) Proximity (2020)
Joe Morris on Jamie Saft
Jamie Saft and I started playing together In Boston in the early 1990’s when he was a college student. It was obvious to me that he was already very special and destined for great things. It would have been great if we were able to work together steadily for many years but he was headed for New York with some very specific goals. Except for crossing paths at the Berlin Jazz Festival shortly after that we didn’t see each other for years. Thanks to social media we reconnected about 10 years ago and we picked up where we left off, adding a much more electric sound in addition to our other collaborations. We’ve made a number of recordings and done a lot of performing together. In 2020 we finally released the recording we made with bassist Nate McBride and drummer Curt Newton nearly 30 years ago. It holds up beautifully and shows that Jamie was indeed everything I thought he was back then—one of the strongest improvising pianists I’ve ever heard.
Anyone who knows his music knows that Jamie Saft isn’t burdened by any musical limitations. He does what he wants to do, and does it all very well. His ideas belong to him and his skills are supreme. He studied classical piano as a child. But his work as an adult is mostly in a wide range of improvised music. He plays everything from Reggae, metal and jazz standards on the highest level. He is a master of every possibility on Hammond organ, and every other electric and electronic keyboard. But he also knows classical repertoire and loves Ives, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, etc. While it is not uncommon for improvising pianists to play classical music, Jamie’s virtuosity includes performing that music with a sound and touch that is anything but typical, making his interpretations of that music completely convincing. This recording sets him apart by displaying those attributes in combination with his own understanding of improvisation.
Last year he told me that he was now concentrating on being a classical musician and digging deeply into that music. His idea was to use his classical technique and combine it with his improvisational technique and record compositions by people he knew. He asked me for some of my compositions. I sent him Choices and scores from my Instantiation music, including Paradoxical, Versioning, Switches, and Proximity. These pieces are made with traditional and graphic notation. Some include instructions, but rather than have him follow them, I suggested that Jamie do whatever he wanted to, knowing that his ability and imagination would yield results that were new and special. Instantiation challenges skilled improvisers to make broad, creative decisions. The performances of these pieces on this recording fulfill that challenge in consistently inventive and beautiful ways. The simultaneous playing of piano, toy piano and marimba are especially original and surprising.
Those of us who are career improvisers have always drawn influence from whatever area that inspires us. For Jamie Saft that includes Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, Alice Coltrane, Bad Brains, Bill Evans, John Cage and Gyorgy Ligeti. His unique career has allowed him to isolate these influences and also to mesh them all together. With all of that, this particular recording is still unique for him and for the art of improvisation. The rich piano sound—beautifully recorded by the performer—fills the ambient space with warmth and complexity. The flow of ideas defies expectation and predictability and takes us elsewhere. The control of each note and timbre is both masterful and honest, combining traits that Jamie Saft reaches for in every aspect of his life and music The use of my compositions shapes the template of each track while remaining transparent and surprising. His pacing is casual allowing the forms to evolve naturally.
This recording has changed my sense of what is possible for my music, and it’s changed my already deep respect for the artistry of my good friend Jamie Saft. But more importantly, and on a very high level, it changes the art of improvised piano music. Following the non-linear tradition of the art, this one is done by a free thinking, super creative musician with superior skills following his own direction, free of the constraints of any kind of expectation or oversight, in collaboration with trusted colleagues, and in the process, changes the situation and the conversation about music.
-Joe Morris, May 2021