Sunday, June 22, 2014

The New Standard Jamie Saft Steve Swallow Bobby Previte RareNoise 2014

tns lowres
Photo Credit Scott Irvine.

Saft, Swallow and Previte join forces for a trio recording that leaves you longing for more!

Brent Black /

Preconceived ideas and running out of coffee are the two worst maladies to happen to a music critic. Jamie Saft has been a fixture with the good folks at RareNoise recordings and appeared on critically acclaimed releases from Slobber Pup and Metallic Taste of Blood. RareNoise has long been noted as a label that will push the harmonic envelope to the very edge of the lyrical cliff and over it if necessary which makes this particular straight ahead recording left of center for a variety of reasons. Had I not zeroed in on the name Steve Swallow, The New Standard may have flown right beneath my critical radar and that would have been a shame! This eclectic trio features Saft deftly moving between piano and organ and a swing from Swallow and Previte that would wake the dead!

Ten original tracks with Saft contributing seven are old school straight ahead gems, melodic and with a groove second to none. There is a smoldering soulful undercurrent moving just beneath the surface as the illusive intangible of chemistry would seem to have this trio successfully capturing lighting in a bottle despite never having played together as a group prior to this session. Three hours and one take, the proverbial wet dream for any producer or record executive. The spontaneous improvisational excursions are highlighted with the more dialed down groove of "Clarissa." This is a tune built around finesse, not showmanship. The gospel infused "Clearing" includes the exquisite organ work of Saft whose harmonic approach is such that nothing is ever ostentatious, he never gets in his own way. The title track features Swallow's electric bass work which has long been a trademark while "Blue Shuffle" revolves around the finesse of drummer  Bobby Previte.

Saft, Swallow, and Previte bring melody out of the jazz witness protection program and allow the listener to take in just what riding a groove is all about. No lackluster tunes, no pretentious self indulgent solos in odd meter, no bull shit. A release worthy of serious consideration for album of the year. RareNoise has long been known as a cutting edge label and for more information I urge you to check out:
Tracks: Clarissa; Minor Soul; Step Lively; Clearing; Trek; The New Standard; I See No Leader; Blue Shuffle; All Things To All People; Surrender The Chaise.