Jamie Saft likes to play. That’s about the only accurate generalization you could make concerning the super-eclectic keyboardist, who turns the Stone into a mad scientist’s lab during this week’s residency. Genrehopping grows more mundane each year; what makes Saft special is his unusually high level of investment across various styles. He doesn’t just squat in a given territory—he puts down deep roots.
Consider New Zion Trio, which appears April 19–21 in celebration of its second full-length, Chaliwa. Building on 2011’s magical Fight Against Babylon, the record sets Saft’s lush, exquisitely chill pianism—like Alice Coltrane riffing on Debussy—against the dubby throb of bassist Brad Jones and drummer Craig Santiago. The album even features a sympathetic cameo from Bad Brains frontman H.R., who sits in at the Stone on the herbally significant date of April 20.
Saft starts the week in a more aggro mode, teaming with improv-savvy Hungarian metal drummer Balázs Pándi. The two share an associate in Japanese noise granddaddy Merzbow, but Slobber Pup—Saft and Pándi’s new collaboration with guitarist Joe Morris and bassist Trevor Dunn, documented on the forthcoming Black Aces and appearing Tuesday 16—focuses on heady, bruising psych-fusion. Here, Saft channels the possessed organ flights of Larry Young in late ’60s–early ’70s Tony Williams Lifetime. Expect that feral energy to carry over into an April 18 duet with septuagenarian percussionist Jerry Granelli, the rare player who boasts a CV as refreshingly inclusive as Saft’s own.—Hank Shteamer
Follow Hank Shteamer on Twitter: @DarkForcesSwing