Music News

Jamie Saft

Keyboard-whiz Jamie Saft is among the current wave of jazz players who are every bit as influenced by Pink Floyd and Public Enemy as by Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock. Trouble finds Saft tipping his proverbial hat to Bob Dylan, distinctively interpreting selections from the bard's copious catalog. With the exceptions of "Ballad of a Thin Man" (essayed with a feverish, William Shatner-like intensity by Mike Patton) — and "Living the Blues" (crooned by Antony Hegarty in velvety, Nat "King" Cole style), Trouble is instrumental reimaginings of non-"hit" Dylan compositions. The exquisite "What Was It You Wanted" draws out the blues and gospel aspects inherent in Dylan's music, the commanding and sanctified notes dripping like honey from Saft's fingers. "Dignity" is flavored by BBQ-sumptuous, Hammond organ sounds à la masters Booker T. Jones (of MG's fame) and Jack McDuff. Meanwhile, bassist Greg Cohen (Tom Waits, John Zorn) and drummer Ben Perowsky maintain a relaxed but durable groove throughout. Trouble is a unique tribute — reverent, heartfelt, and able to stand on its own.

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Mark Keresman