Exposé Online banner

New Zion w. Cyro — Sunshine Seas
(RareNoise RNR065, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-08-08

Sunshine Seas Cover art

If I had become aware of Jamie Saft’s work earlier in his career, maybe I wouldn’t be so surprised every time he shows up on a new release that sounds completely different from what I’ve heard before. New Zion is a project he’s been involved with for several years, though Sunshine Seas is my first encounter with it. At its core, New Zion is a trio of Saft with drummer Craig Santiago and a bassist (originally Larry Grenadier, now Brad Jones); they have worked with other musicians to fill out the sound, in this case Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista. And if you’re expecting some kind of piano trio jazz, you’re going to have your expectations dashed. The “Zion” in the name is a reference to reggae-inflected dub editing, and Sunshine Seas presents nine tracks of latin jazz intersected with (some might say infected with) dub effects. Rhythmically, many of the pieces are based on a reggae bounce, but there are hints of other styles as well, none of them presented in pure traditional form, which is as it should be for original music like this. The title “Samba Jahmekya” sums up the attitude. Saft plays piano more than any other instrument, though there’s good organ work, electric piano, acoustic guitar, and various synthesizers here and there. Baptista is an integral part of this music. He’s worked with a wide range of other artists in addition to having a number of releases under his own name on the Tzadik label. In keeping with the dub theme, most of the tracks feature drop-outs for modulated echoes, but the effect isn’t overused. Listeners averse to the style will want to look elsewhere for their jazz keyboard fix, but barring that kind of allergic reaction, Sunshine Seas is a nice diversion, a mellow groove for a summer day (or another time of year when you wish it was summer).

Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Jamie Saft, New Zion, Cyro Baptista

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Big Big Train - The Difference Machine – Over the years, UK proggers Big Big Train have been migrating their sound from the Genesis-ish fare served up on early records like 1994's Goodbye to the Age of Steam to a more modern approach first...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues