In recent years, Jamie Saft’s signature musician-polymath touch has graced numerous recordings released by RareNoise, spanning a high dimensional manifold of genres, from the microtonal metal of Slobber Pup’s Black Aces, Pole Axe and The Spanish Donkey’s Raoul to the pure analog acoustic piano trio sounds of Saft/Swallow/Previte’s The New Standard to the lysergic free rock of Plymouth, to recent collaborations with masters Roswell Rudd and Wadada Leo Smith.
With Sunshine Seas, the New Zion Trio’s latest project (and RareNoise debut), Saft further builds on the success of New Zion’s first two releases “Fight Against Babylon” and “CHALIWA” (Veal Records). Saft not only supplies all the piano and an assortment of vintage keyboards and synths, he also plays all the electric bass and guitar parts on this heavy Dub influenced recording. Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, a longtime colleague of Saft’s, adds his signature percussive flavors and ebullient presence on such mesmerizing dub groove tracks as the opening “BrazilJah” and the beguiling “Chalice Pipe”, which has Baptista on vocals and cuica and Saft comping in a gentle bossa nova vein on acoustic guitar. The darkly insinuating “Onda” features Baptista’s massive ceramic drum work and has him singing in Portuguese about waves on the beach in a flow metaphor which deftly captures the feeling of this evocative track. The heavy dub track “Ranking” is a prime showcase for Cyro’s mastery of the jaw harp (or Jew’s harp).
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to know and work with Cyro Baptista for well over 20 years,” says Saft. “We’ve played on countless John Zorn sessions and performed together all over the world. We are both core members of Zorn’s bands Electric Masada and The Dreamers. I was fortunate to produce two of Cyro’s fantastic albums, Beat The Donkey and Love the Donkey. He and I have toured together for decades and I consider him a close friend. I’m honored to work with and learn from a master like Cyro. As a musician, he brings a breadth of knowledge of not just Brazilian music but musics of the world. Cyro is also a brilliant improviser at the highest level. He brings a beautiful feeling of true positivity and light, qualities which are crucial to New Zion. He not only broadens our musical palate, he lifts us up to higher heights with his shining brilliance. A perfect addition to the New Zion sound.