The Jamie Saft Quartet

Blue Dream
(RareNoise)

The rigorous pursuit of musical virtue can lead to any number of places within jazz’s ever-expanding borders. And keyboardist Jamie Saft embodies that notion, refusing to turn out a succession of recordings that might be thought to placate a single, certain type of listener.

If you want to hear an organ trio render dub in the 21st century, listen to Bad Brains frontman H.R. let loose over top of that same group or take in Cyro Baptista’s squiggling percussion across the troupe’s Jamaican-derived simplicity, Saft’s New Zion Trio is there to help. Need a stunningly beautiful and evocative set of acoustic solo piano? Saft recently issued Solo A Genova (RareNoise). Maybe a bit of jazz-rock stuff? He can do that, too.

What his quartet does consistently on Blue Dream, though, is swing while displaying an all-encompassing capacity for mood and dexterous interplay. Here, Saft’s troupe—saxophonist Bill McHenry, bassist Bradley Jones and drummer Nasheet Waits—turn in 12 rangy tunes, meandering from the spiritual side of things on “Vessels” and “Equanimity” to classic jazz on “Violets For Your Furs” and on to some baroque jazz pieces, as on “Walls.”

With the release of such a strong recording just months after that intimate solo disc, the only thing listeners should be wondering is just how many more near-perfect statements of purpose are comming from Saft in 2018?