NYC Winter Jazz: Jamie Saft, Alison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom & Dave Harrington Group
Jamie Saft: You Don’t Know The Life
The Weekly RecommNeds is back! Did you miss us? Hopefully you’ve kept busy with all the recs from last year, but now we’re ready to kick in to 2019 with more great new perhaps-under-your-radar recommendations. I spent a lot of the end of 2018 traveling Europe, so I figured best to start 2019 off closer to home. Winter seems to be jazz season in NYC, and there are already some great releases in the jazz/kinda-jazz category from NYC-area musicians to send your way. Starting off with Jamie Saft the piano/keyboardist who’s been featured here several times. His latest is You Don’t Know The Life, with a killer rhythm section of Steve Swallow and Bobby Previte. This one is a little bit of everything, with covers and originals, Saft on organs and plenty of groove and weird and awesome. I think you’ll dig it.
Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom: Glitter Wolf
While we’re on the subject of killer backing bands, let’s check out the latest from Allison Miller. The NYC-based drummer has assembled her monster ensemble with Jenny Scheinman (violin), Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Ben Goldberg (clarinet), Todd Sickafoose (bass) and Myra Melford (piano) for the brand new Glitter Wolf release, out on Royal Potato Family. Under Miller’s bandleadership, the band, with their wide palette of sound, really create a unique and altogether swinging sound. Miller’s compositional voice is as strong as ever and the music really transcends genre and labels. So many great moments in this one, please do check it out.
Dave Harrington Group: Pure Imagination, No Country
The latest release from Dave Harrington stretches the definition of “jazz” even further, but, then again, that’s about what you’d expect from the NYC-based guitarist. Pure Imagination, No Country, is a triumph, a label-defying epic of instrumental music, balancing ensemble improvisation with Harrington’s unique musical worldview that combines elements of jazz, electronica and Garcia-homage guitar forays. Passages hop from funky to beautiful to inspired to ecstatic. The band features NYC experimental music mainstays with contributions from vibraphone and violin mixing in with an inventive rhythm section. This is an early-year favorite and, if you ask me, a must-listen.