Jamie Saft

A pianist, arranger and bandleader whose musical journeys include and sometimes combine jazz, noise, reggae and New Jewish Music. Inspiring keyboardist Jamie Saft began appearing on a growing number of N.Y.C.-oriented Jazz recordings in the 1990s and well into 2000. Saft was born in Queens, New York. He studied at Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music. He studied at these schools with Geri Allen and Cecil McBee and Joe Maneri. Saft also had Burton Hatheway, composer and pianist technical guru (as Saft called him), as a mentor. Saft, who was born in New York, returned to New York in 1993 and since then has performed a variety of music styles including opera, folk, heavy metal, jazz, and even a bar band. He was the piano soloist at the New York and Paris premieres of John Adams’ opera I Was looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky in 1995. He played the Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes and miniMoog throughout the mid-to late ’90s. His recordings were also released by Enja. Saft also plays accordion in the Peter Epstein Quartet, Jerry Granelli’s Enter, a Dragon, and steel guitar, among others. He has performed and recorded all over the U.S., Europe and the Middle East and has worked with John Zorn, Groove Collective Marc Ribot, Drazy Hoops and many others. Saft was also the co-leader of a release on Avant label entitled Ragged Jack with trumpeter Cuong Viu. He was busy touring and recording solo albums for Tzadik, including one with Chris Speed (saxophonist) and Jim Black (drummer). Sovlanut arrived mid-2000. Tzadik continued to record for Saft throughout the 2000s. He issued such CDs as Breadcrumb Sins 2002 and Astaroth: Book of Angels Vol. 1 (a Jamie Saft Trio collection of compositions taken from John Zorn’s Masada repertoire), in 2005. Trouble: The Jamie Saft Trio plays Bob Dylan in 2006. He continued to collaborate on other labels’ releases, including The Only Juan (with Jerry Granelli), on Love Slave Records (2001) and Merzdub with Merzbow on Caminante (2006). Black Shabbis, an anti-Semitism-themed CD of heavy metal, was released on Tzadik in 2009. Saft had started scoring films in 2005. In early 2010, a compilation of selected tracks from Murderball, God Grew tired of Us: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan and Dear Talula was released on Tzadik as Bag of Shells. Saft began to perform with the New Zion Trio (bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Craig Santiago). Borscht Belt Studies, Saft’s next solo album (also on Tzadik), was also recorded by the New Zion Trio. The all-original, 11-song set featured the composer playing an acoustic or electric piano with Ben Goldberg as clarinetist. Saft started working with Eraldo Bernnocchi and Giacomo Bruzzo, a London-based label called RareNoise. Metallic Taste of Blood was his first project. This band combines improvisation, dub and jazz with sonic investigation and prog rock. Bernocchi and Saft were joined in the studio by Colin Edwin, Porcupine Tree’s bassist, and Balazs Pandi, their drummer. His membership in the all-improv group Slobber Pup On Black Aces, which featured Joe Morris, Trevor Dunn, Pandi, and more, was soon followed. Saft stepped up the ante in 2014. He recorded three recordings for the label in 2014: Plymouth with Mary Halvorson, guitarist, and drummer Gerald Cleaver; The New Standard in May, a structured jazz trio with Bobby Previte, and Steve Swallow; and Red Hill in September, the self-titled Red Hill. This was an improv quartet featuring Wadada Leo Smith and Pandi. He released Ticonderoga, his second album, on Clean Feed. It was supported by Joe McPhee and Charles Downs. Strength

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