Bar code: 8427328435352
"This is intriguing. Is Jonathan Saraga inviting us to compare this with Lee Morgan’s 1964 masterpiece Search For The New Land? Maybe. To trip over a conclusion, the young New Yorker’s new recording is very nearly that good, but I sense that the title is more personal, and that it dramatises an artist who has broken through to his new voice. The arrangement of Cedar Walton’s Firm Roots is very telling, a quite original interpretation of a piece that isn’t anything like as anchored - or rootsy - as its title suggests.
Saraga has been working on this music for some time and it comes out of the speakers with a rare confidence and finish, but without the smuggery and sheen that a lot of contemporary jazz has in place of real content. Uprising feels like an embarkation point; New World feels like some kind of arrival, but not a final destination. I don’t know any Saraga family history, but there’s a personal history inscribed here.
The group are absolutely with him. Le Boeuf is a rare talent, always in the right place. Ishiguro is going to pick up awards (even if not a Nobel Prize, like his namesake) and Pattishall, Rosato and Salters, not to lump them too anonymously, provide a smooth and companionable ride. Jonathan doesn’t sound too much like Lee Morgan, but he’s carving out his own identity, and the Beatles tune nails that just beautifully."
Jazz Journal (December, 2017)
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