Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte You Don't Know the Life
The Jamie Saft Quartet Hidden Corners
The expressive range of the organ is explored on keyboardist Jamie Saft's You Don't Know the Life. Kicking off with the Bill Evans's composition "Re: Person I Knew," Saft colors drummer Bobby Previte's shuffle-and-chime percussion with guitar-like tones, mounting to a joyous frenzy one might be tempted to say shreds. The original "Dark Squares" is low and droney, almost stoner-y. "Moonlight in Vermont" has a romantic, couples'-skate vibe, not subverted but given sexy subtext by Previte's fills and bassist Steve Swallow's loping lyricism. Throughout, the album exploits and escapes the listener's (this listener's, anyway) associations of non-ecclesiastical organ, giving classic-pop-adjacent tunes (Bacharach and David's "Alfie"!) rock muscle and swing.
On Hidden Corners, Saft's quartet are a more traditional configuration: Saft on piano, Dave Liebman on saxes and flute, Bradley Christopher Jones on bass, and Hamid Drake behind the drums. Inspired in part by John Coltrane's own exploration of the Jewish study of Kabbalah, the group probe the mysteries of a "musical geometry." In "Positive Way," there is a sense of sprawling structure: a Latin percussive groove matched with quick-fingered bass figures that suggest a Middle Eastern oud leading into a frayed, sax announcement. "231 Gates" lilts in on a high wooden flute that evokes a samurai, a gunslinger, and a bird simultaneously while the bass, piano, and percussion behind create a kind of natural weather. It's a Kurosawa-evoking track. The titular tune is contemplative, an inward conversation of steady-trucking longing, perhaps, finding the rhythmic route from one far-flung musical corner to the next.