Rampant Teddy Bear
The Reiki Practitioner
Jonathan Saraga: trumpet/flugelhorn
Colin Gordon: alto saxophone
Peter Park: guitar
Jeff Dingler: bass
Gusten Rudolph: drums
Released September 1st, 2012 at Smalls Jazz Club (NYC)
Recorded on January 8th, 2012 at the Cutting Room Studios in New York, NY.
All compositions by Jonathan Saraga
All artwork by Jonathan Saraga
Produced by Jonathan Saraga
First Vision is more than a collection of songs; it is a musical documentation of many different states of consciousness that have emerged in order to further understand themselves; apparently, through the perception of all who will listen. Concurrently, upon writing these specific pieces, I chose to become more familiar with these states of consciousness, and in so doing, as I reflected on and studied the various experiences, realizations, feelings, thoughts, and in some cases, sonic ideas that were not influenced by any specific preconceived notion or set parameter, the pieces as they have been documented, came to be. This creation has no beginning and no end, thus the music here has not culminated, but has landmarked itself, as evident on this very recording.
The compositions that comprise this album were written from a place of truth, and I believe that we, as individuals and as a group, have captured the essence, importance, and intent that these songs carry with them. Of course, as with any experience, the mind adds it's own interpretation and perception of an event, as a means of understanding. This album is no different, in that it serves as an audio snapshot, of us, as individuals, and as a group, expressing ourselves through our instruments, based around our own experiences, and our own perceptions. It is a portrait of our mental, emotional, and physical states of being at the time; exposing truth, and revealing a glimpse into the human condition through art, as it may be recognized.
As with any art form, there are elements of improvisation, and each composition here has portions of it that are catered to improvisation, which add spontaneity, conversation, and interaction, as well as in-the-moment decisions that have provided the music a means of metamorphosis, and have added to it's overall shape and energy.
In addition to all of the songs from First Vision being all original, the artwork featured throughout the physical album's wallet, is as well. You will find drawings on every side of the wallet, including on the inside, based on the stories and entities presented within the music.
...a skillfully conceived and exquisitely realized debut that brings to mind the edgy, envelope-pushing hard bop of many a Blue Note record in the early 1960s.
...a rare blend of individuality and maturity.
The music, all Saraga-penned, has an uncommon freshness coming from a 24 year-old artist who is well on his way to forming his own compositional voice.
First Vision isn't the stuff of amateurs on the brink of musical maturity, it's a stand-up-and-take-notice offering.
First Vision shouldn't be measured as a debut; it deserves to be judged only on its bountiful merits, which include stellar trumpet work, intriguing tunes and strong group chemistry.
At times, Saraga's music can exhibit a wandering, nomadic, Klezmer-influenced sound that further cements the (Dave) Douglas connection via that trumpeter's work with John Zorn's flagship Masada.
—All About Jazz
This is engaging, tuneful, urgent modern jazz played at a very high level by young, masterful musicians
Jon's new recording is a splendid collection of originals which features some fine young musicians.