Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, Bobby Previte: You Don’t Know The Life

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Like Swallow and Previte, Saft has an essentially playful spirit that indulges in occasional moments of melancholy and sober reflection. The integration of this trio, which has already released The New Standard and the wonderful Loneliness Road (the one with Iggy Pop as guest vocalist), is formidable, and all the more so for allowing the impression that the three executants are able to go their own ways on a tune without losing contact with its internal consistency.

You get that on Ode To A Green Frisbee (which is a neat exercise in classicist bathos, the kind of thing 16th century poets used to knock to favourite cats and goldfish to prove their technical chops), but also on the two closing standard themes. Not even Sonny Rollins managed to find the dark heart of Alfie, a character and story with a lot more pain in it than most people seem to recognise.

And if you’ve read Saft’s recent comments to Jazz Journal, you’ll know that he’s a big fan of Texan roots rockers ZZ Top. To harden up his fan credentials, Saft has taken his title tune here from Billy Gibbons’ earlier group Moving Sidewalks, a psych/blues/Beatles outfit long since eclipsed by ZZT’s stadium-friendly approach. Saft captures the inwardness and reflection of the tune just perfectly, while Swallow plays some delightful fills and countermelodies.

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Previte’s innate musicality comes out with every track. I don’t know if it’s the Whitehall organ that delivers that lovely, mournful mission-hall sound, but it’s an addictive component of You Don’t Know The Life. Favourite track, apart from the title tune and Alfie, has to be Stable Manifold. You need to hear this record.

Discography
Re: Person I Knew; Dark Squares; Water From Breath; You Don’t Know The Life; Ode To A Green Frisbee; The Cloak; Stable Manifold; The Break Of The Flat Land; Moonlight In Vermont; Alfie (41.10)
Saft (Hammond org, Whitehall org, Baldwin el hpd); Swallow (elg); Previte (d).
RareNoise RNR0101/RNR0101LP

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