Album Review: Jamie Saft Quartet | Blue Dream | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Album Review: Jamie Saft Quartet | Blue Dream 

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Jamie Saft Quartet: Blue Dream

On a charcoal-gray Sunday morning in early December, there may be no better album to pop in than Jamie Saft's Solo a Genoa. Quietly capturing the Kerhonkson keyboardist performing unaccompanied in the titular Northwestern Italian city, the piano-only set is a meditative masterpiece of monochromatic mood; one that plays perfectly against the bleak backdrop of winter's onset—or, for that matter, one of the season's early sunsets or candlelit nights in—and instantly evokes the influential, introverted introspection of Bill Evans. And, indeed, Saft's suitably icy interpretation of the Evans/Miles Davis standard "Blue in Green" repays his debts to the late piano great. But the rest of the play list, outside of a gorgeous reflection on John Coltrane's "Naima," is perhaps less expected: There are revelatory reinventions of songs by Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, Joni Mitchell, and other non-jazz artists. Then again, since Saft has played with everyone from Laurie Anderson to the Beastie Boys, such eclecticism is wholly fitting.

Although Blue Dream likewise revisits some standards (the Tin Pan Alley tunes "Sweet Lorraine," "There's a Lull in My Life," and a warm, loving "Violets for Your Furs"), it's otherwise comprised of original material. Recorded in Saft's home studio, the album pairs the pianist with tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, bassist Bradley Christopher Jones, and drummer Nasheet Waits for a highly satisfying session of Trane-tinged explorations. Of its 12 transcendent tracks, "Infinite Compassion" may be the most indicative of Blue Dream's spirit-summoning direction.

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