Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte – You Don’t Know the Life – Rare Noise RNR 101LP – Vinyl audiophile LP – 41:09 – ****:
(Jamie Saft – Hammond organ, Whitehall organ, Baldwin electric harpsichord; Steve Swallow – electric bass; Bobby Previte – drums)
Jamie Saft has cast a wide musical net over the last few years. We’ve covered a heavenly solo piano excursion (Solo a Genova), a blues driven piano trio (Blue Dream), and another trio outing with guest vocalist Iggy Pop (Loneliness Road).
Saft now sets his sites on exploring the possibilities of the classic organ trio (Hammond, bass, and drums), once again entering new territory with bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer, Bobby Previte. Just released on Rare Noise Records on a gorgeous pristine green vinyl, as well as CD, You Don’t Know the Life, has ten tracks. Three were written by the trio, two by Saft, and the remaining five ranging from Bill Evans (“Re: Person I Knew”); a Roswell Rudd tune (“Ode to a Green Frisbee”); and two standards. The title track is from a ZZ Top number by Billy Gibbons, an early favorite of Saft.
The one constant throughout Jamie’s trio group releases is an open canvas provided with minimal musical “paint” leaving each instrumentalist to work as a team to complete the vision, whether it be easily recognized/digested by the listener, or subject to a “Jackson Pollock type” splatter fest, open to multiple interpretations. In other words, improvisation rules…
The LP opens with “Re: Person I Knew,” and Jamie is on an electric Baldwin harpsichord. It’s a psychedelic funky treat, propelled by Previte’s shuffle beat. It has an ominous vibe, and would be great for a Halloween haunted house theme. “Water From Breath” highlights the trio’s symbiotic strengths, with Steve Swallow’s electric bass deeply vibrating, and Bobby Previte’s assertive drumming.
The title track features some soulful organ lines, and effective tension and release. It sets a mood, both mysterious and imploring. Saft pulls out all the stops on “The Cloak.” Like a mad scientist let loose, Saft opens a smorgasbord of organ effects.
We next get a straight forward soul jazz reading on “Stable Manifold,” and Jamie shows he can hold his own with Dr. Lonnie Smith and Joey DeFrancesco, should he choose to.
The LP closes with a reworking of two standards. “Moonlight in Vermont” opens in a straight manner, but soon evolves into more complex territory primarily due to Previte’s escalating intensity. “Alfie” provides a lyrical close to an adventurous forty plus minutes of organ trio re-definitions.
This session was recorded at the heralded Sear Sound studio in New York City. The acoustics are resonant, and bass and drums are fully upfront meeting Saft’s percolating organ head on.
If you are a jazz organ trio fan, open to explore the sonic adventures that free improvisation can bring to this often easily predictable organ grouping, then you are in for a real ear opening treat..
Re: Person I Knew
Water From Breath
You Don’t Know the Life
Ode to a Green Frisbee
The Break of the Flat Land
Moonlight in Vermont
More Information and Track Samples at Rare Noise Records Website: