Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte
Photo © Vin Cin
Over a career now spanning nearly thirty years, Jamie Saft has established himself as one of the visionaries of contemporary American music. As a composer, pianist and keyboard innovator, and collaborator of music icons such as Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, the B-52s, Donovan, John Adams and John Zorn, he has been fearless in his pursuit of spiritual elevation through music that both seeks to embrace the whole American canon, and also transcend it, by seamlessly assimilating genres, traditions, idioms and timelines.
His collaboration with London based progressive label RareNoise, now dating back to 2012, reflects this polymathic approach, as can be gleaned from listening to the array of path-breaking, irreducible recordings he released with them: among these, one of the most successful was a piano trio collaboration with jazz giants Steve Swallow and Bobby Previte, “The New Standard.”
In Loneliness Road, the follow-up album to that acclaimed 2014 release, the trio of Saft, Swallow and Previte are joined on three tracks ("Don't Lose Yourself", "Loneliness Road", "Everyday" by singer Iggy Pop.
"Each of these is an organic take, no comps, each one also happens to be the first take. …. I spent a great deal of time developing each one before the session, so that's probably why by the time I opened my mouth, I was really dying to sing the song and get it off my chest. There was no lyric sheet or music stand used, because I knew all the words in my head.” (Iggy Pop, about his contributions to 'Loneliness Road')
1. LONELINESS ROAD will be officially released on May 26th on RareNoiseRecords as CD Digipack, Double 180gms Vinyl and several digital formats.
2. PRE-ORDERS for CD Digipack, Double Vinyl and Combo (CD+Vinyl) start immediately.
3. Courtesy DL (.mp3 and .flac) will be sent to Pre-Order holders during the first week of May).
4. Products will ship from around May 20th.
5. ALL Download formats (24bit/96kHz .flac / 16bit/44.1kHz .flac / .mp3) will be available to BUY from the first week of May.
Jamie Saft - piano
Steve Swallow - electric bass
Bobby Previte - drums
Iggy Pop - vocals on 'Don't Lose Yourself', 'Loneliness Road', 'Everyday'
1. Ten Nights
2. Little Harbor
4. Don't Lose Yourself (w. Iggy Pop)
7. The Barrier
9. Loneliness Road (w. Iggy Pop)
10. Unclouded Moon
12. Everyday (w. Iggy Pop)
Cat. No. : RNR077 / RNR077LP
The New Standard
Photo by Scott Irvine (© Scott Irvine 2014)
While Jamie Saft has been a significant presence on previous RareNoise recordings by Slobber Pup, Plymouth and Metallic Taste of Blood, the renegade keyboardist and essential Downtown improviser steps into a dramatically different role on The New Standard. A collaborative trio outing featuring the dream rhythm tandem of drummer Bobby Previte and bassist Steve Swallow, both prolific composers and venerable bandleaders in their own right, it showcases Saft alternating between piano and organ and making thoughtful, melodic contributions throughout. On ten original tracks, seven of which the keyboardist composed, Saft blends brilliantly with his esteemed elders on this remarkable RareNoise release.
"Bobby suggested that I put together simple structures for us to use as starting points,"
"I tried to put together pieces that were super soulful and honest. I wanted compositions that would highlight Steve's absolute mastery of melody and Bobby's incredibly soulful approach to groove. They took my simple pieces and made them into grand structures on which to improvise. Beginnings and endings were all improvised and this gives the album a special type of magic."
"It was the simplest, chillest record I have ever done. We set up, went out and had a nice lunch, went back to the studio and three hours later it was all done in one take. It’s kind of incredible it actually worked out as it did. And my 1965 Rogers Holiday model tubs, which I got when I was 14 years old, have never, and probably will never sound better. The sound is so full, so creamy I feel like licking it!”
“Steve and Bobby have been working together for decades and Bobby introduced us many many years ago, at first to discuss espresso, which is a shared passion of ours. Steve was also extremely generous with his knowledge of coffee and we struck up a fond correspondence. Bobby, of course, was secretly trying to put us together musically and finally a few summers ago, we all convened at my new studio near Kingston, New York (Potterville International Sound) for this session. So this album came from the purest of sources -- a genuine desire from old friends to make music together.”
“The music is highly improvised, more than you think. We did the entire record in three hours. Some tunes were completely improvised, some were brought in by Jamie but I think even he would agree they were sketches, really. He'd just tell Steve the harmonic rhythm, or we'd discuss it for a second, literally, and we were off! All first takes. And we never ever talked about how to start or how to end. The beginnings and endings are probably my favorite parts of this record because you can hear there was nothing planned in the least. We all dovetailed to the ends together. In fact, the endings are like little pieces in themselves. For instance if you listen to a Coltrane record, often you can tell they didn't have an ending, but there was no panic, no stress. They knew the tune would end itself and there was patience there. That's a quality in short supply today but on The New Standard you can hear that, especially with Steve. For instance, when I will take a left turn on one of those improvised endings, instead of interacting with me he stays at home within himself, and it's just magnificent. When you do that, when you don't cling too tightly to the other musicians, you bestow upon the other players so much freedom. As he said to me once, ‘Interaction is overrated.' I couldn't agree more, except for the fact what he does IS interaction. It's just interaction on a much higher level than is usual in improvisation.”
“About seven years ago I moved my crew to the Hudson Valley between the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains. We live right in the seat of where so much essential music from the past 60 years was created -- Bob Dylan, The Band, Woodstock. Certainly these sounds were in my head as I constructed pieces for us to work with. I've been a huge fan and proponent of the music of both Dylan and the Band and certainly they were both heavy influences for this session. I also was looking to capture something placid and serene that reflects my love for country living and a more sustainable way of being.”
“The idea behind ‘I See No Leader’ is twofold. The obvious on being there is no real leader to this group. Though I have contributed most of the structures, when you have absolute masters like Steve and Bobby (and Joe for that matter), all it takes is a group of the simplest structures and suddenly there's magic on the tape. The title of this song also refers to the analog tape on which this album was recorded. As we progressed through the sessions I ran out of fresh reels of tape and we were forced to start rolling over old reels from my studio vaults -- a reel in which we ‘saw no leader’ referred to the leader tape used to mark beginnings and ends.”
“It was an absolute honor to work with a musician of Steve's caliber,” he says. “It was like walking on air! Steve has the deepest intuition found so rarely these days. It was as if I could go ANYWHERE and Steve was standing there waiting for me with arms outstretched. A true master!”
THE NEW STANDARD is available as Double Vinyl, CD Digipack and multiple Download and Streaming formats.
Jamie Saft - piano / organs
Steve Swallow - electric bass
Bobby Previte - drums