Jamie Saft ’94, an alumnus of the Tufts/NEC dual degree program, discusses his wide-ranging musical influences and the diversity of his NEC education.
“‘I was deeply shaped by my education, of course. I was fortunate to have amazing teachers throughout my musical life.‘
”[Saft] did indeed study with Paul Bley, but also ‘so many great masters of music. [Radical saxophonist] Joe Maneri was one of my greatest teachers there. Others included [bassist] Cecil McBee, who played on many of my favourite records, and Geri Allen, whose playing I enjoyed greatly.’
But what Saft seems to have enjoyed more was the opportunity to create a musical hinterland without boundaries. ’I improvised on a [György] Ligeti piece for the composer himself during a concert and received incredible positivity from him about what we were doing. I was also able to study Ives, Bartók and Schoenberg there. I studied Turkish music, klezmer, Indian music. I went to concerts as often as possible. In my second year I heard Naked City [John Zorn’s unhinged post-jazz group with Fred Frith, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz and Joey Baron] and that concert showed me the limitless possibilities in music. And I continued to enjoy live shows by my popular music heroes, Dylan, Morris Day and The Time, ZZ Top. All of this shaped my music.’”