The New Standard

The New Standard

Keyboardist Jamie Saft, electric bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bobby Previte are each known for playing in the downtown or cerebral jazz style. But here on their first encounter as a trio (though Saft has separately played with Previte), they're more interested in laying down loose grooves that recall Les McCann (check out “Minor Soul”) or even Jimmy Smith (“Blue Shuffle”). This is all done without a cheatsheet of running through some groovy covers; instead, Saft contributes seven tunes, with the other three being group-composed. While the first three tunes feature Saft on piano, he switches to B3 organ and leads the way for the gospel-rock “Clearing,” which sounds like it could have been an outtake from The Band. “Trek” and the title cut have surprisingly dramatic overtones that ride on Saft's cresting piano flourishes, leading one to wonder if he has Vegas influences buried somewhere inside of him. Some believe that avant-garde guys can’t get down and have some fun, but The New Standard is proof that's not the case.

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