Jamie Saft Trio releases Lotus Blossom (Billy Strayhorn) | Film by Adam Goldberg
Jamie Saft Trio- Lotus Blossom
Jamie Saft- piano Jim Lyden- acoustic bass Gary Gemmiti- drums
Film Steve Erdman – Wigmono with Roxane Daner Bud Earl Goldberg Sonny Sweets Goldberg
Directed by Adam Goldberg
In Memory of Jerry Granelli
“Lotus Blossom” is a magical composition written by the great Billy Strayhorn. Duke Ellington used to close concerts with this unique piece. The version presented here is dedicated to the memory of my friend and mentor Master Musician Jerry Granelli, whose brush work and positive aspect shined through the Peanuts score music as the drummer for the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Jerry spoke often of the Buddhist principle of “Nowness”- of committing to each unique individual moment. It is in Jerry’s memory that I present this sweet version of “Lotus Blossom.” Enjoy.
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
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.
SWAMI LATEPLATE, the experimental jazz duo formed by New York performers Bobby Previte on drums and Jamie Saft on piano and bass, will reissue their seminal 2012 album ‘Doom Jazz’ on various vinyl formats and CD this June 25th via Subsound Records.
Using doom as a template, Swami Lateplate crafts a set of songs that creeps along powerfully. The themes are simple, generally carried by subdued bass lines and ornamented by the piano like salt on a glacier. Each moment is its own event, each note frozen in amber. An album that will satisfy Saft and Previte’s audiences, as well as fans of the fringes of metal.
Jamie Saft is a virtuoso pianist, keyboardist, producer, and composer from New York. His stylistic versatility, multi-instrumentalist capabilities, and production skills have been featured with Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, HR, The B-52’s, John Zorn, John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Donovan, Antony and the Johnsons, and Iggy Pop. Saft leads the New Zion Trio, Jamie Saft Trio, and Jamie Saft Quartet. Saft has collaborated with legends of music including Wadada Leo Smith, Roswell Rudd, Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Dave Liebman, Joe Morris, Hamid Drake, Bobby Previte, Steve Swallow, Darryl Jenifer, and Cyro Baptista.
Saft has composed a number of original film scores including the Oscar nominated “Murderball” and Sundance winner “God Grew Tired Of Us.” Saft has also scored extensively for Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Vice TV, NFL Football, CBS, and A&E. Saft currently runs the independent record label Veal Records as well as Potterville International Sound, both based out of Kingston, NY. Jamie Saft on Bandcamp
Releases from:Beta Popes, Bunda Love with Saft, Jamie Saft, Jerry Granelli & Jamie Saft, Kalashnikov, King Krangus, New Raspberry Bandits, New Zion Trio, OV, Pramrod Sexena, Swami LatePlate, Whoopie Pie