Jonathan Saraga Journey To A New World
Trumpeter/Composer Jonathan Saraga to release new recording “Journey to a New World” on Fresh Sound New Talent
"Whether on trumpet or flugelhorn, Saraga's clear, elegiac tone weaves intricate musical tales..." - Hrayr Attarian ..Chicago Jazz
"Saraga... is only in his mid-twenties, but plays with the wisdom and maturity of veterans more than twice his age." -Dan Bilawsky ..All About Jazz
Jonathan Saraga – Trumpet/ Remy Le Boeuf – Alto Saxophone/ Aki Ishiguro – Guitar/ Chris Pattishall – Piano*Fender Rhodes/ Rick Rosato – Bass/ Kenneth Salters - Drums
If you count dreams as a more intense and real projection of the imagination, I think we can all agree that the imagination brings us to some of the most incredible places; places we couldn’t and couldn’t possibly explore otherwise. I often see myself as a character in my own imaginative world; like as if I was the hero character in a movie or videogame. I think I like adventure tales because I see myself in that hero character, I see myself as a hero of my own story. Stories of honor, valor, courage, determination, and sacrifice are the kinds that inspire me, whether based on truth or not, and music that either complements or evokes these types of scenarios and characters touches me probably more than anything. In a way, the original compositions on Journey to a New World are all coming from this sort of realm.
It is also worth noting a few specific influences which have significant effects on me and how I hear music. The debut album of the saxophonist on this album, Remy Le Boeuf (and his brother Pascal), House Without a Door, was and still is a life changing album for me. I highly recommend listening to that album. I am sure you will hear where I get some of my ideas and you won’t be surprised that I invited him to play on this album. Video games and movies about bravery and heroism are of huge influence to my writing style, and the stories that take place within those games touch me on a level that might seem humorous to some. The music would not mean much without the story behind it. A book that I had finished not to long before coming up with the album idea is called Living Words, by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. This has become one of my favorite books, and the messages and teachings within it have had profound effect on me. Interestingly, many of the themes of my compositions are discussed by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in various texts.
The title “Uprising” came mainly from the repetitive, cyclical and recurring 13-note ostinato bass figure that happens throughout the piece. (This theme and the melodic overlay on top of it is heavily influenced by “Code Word” from the Le Boeuf Brothers album House Without a Door).
This figure, echoed in three instruments, and then later by two more instruments (as a sort of inver- ted retrograde) evokes, the idea of an unrelenting force being sustained in numbers. The idea of people standing together to face adversity is a theme not uncommon to human history, and historically our world is largely built on the occurrence and outcomes of these types of events. Additionally, an uprising is not limited to this type of external physical effort, it can be symbolic of work to be done within oneself, and perhaps it is in this meaning that the composition exists.
Most stories of valor take place in quest form, and the “Great Journey” is no different. Even when being experienced from within an outcome and how to get there is really unknown, but the will to be victorious is always there. The music is very much an embodiment of how a journey into an unknown land might be outlined in a more fantastical context: the intro and outro suggest preparation and arrival respectively, there are resting points, and periods were tension and drama build within the story line, sometimes in extreme fashion. Like with all the pieces that involve characters, there are no specific faces to attach to them, it’s up to the listener. I have sometimes pretended that my band members are the ones being depicted!
“The Guardians” evict the idea of superhuman protectors; entities whose sole purpose is to help preserve something important. It could be one person’s life, it could be the universe, it could be an aspect of existence. In Hinduism, there are 12 Adityas, or Sun Gods, who act as protectors of all beings. It is also said that they govern the admittance of transcendental light into the “lower” hemispheres of our reality from the “heavens.” For me the Guardians are symbols of forces that watch over all that is good in this world and help it to maintain it. They are envisioned in my mind as God-like beings, angels perhaps, powerful beyond measure.
In “Lullaby” there is a release from the dramatic plots and environments. It is a common belief that every warrior needs to be rocked; meaning that the hardened nature of a soldier or hero whom finds him/herself in battle constantly, eventually needs loving affection in their lives, or they will become a cold-shelled shadow of their former self; which can happen. To put it in a more relatable way, a person who goes the distance and pushes themselves toward a goal, will face pain and pro- bably death in some way, even if it within the mind. A soldier cannot go on forever in a battle, he must have not only rest, but restoration. He must be brought back to the place of peace and surrender by being gently rocked.
“A new light breaks upon the earth. A New World Has Been Born. It is not the old that is being transformed, it is quite a new world that has really been con- cretely born” says the Mother, in Living Words. The ideas of evolution and trans- formation have much importance in our world, but the concept of a complete replacement of a form with another is not one we are used to, let alone readily able to accept. To emerge into an entirely new way of life, and for the holds and crutches of old patterns to break away, revealing an awareness or consciousness that has never been experienced is an extremely powerful gamut to enter into. When I think of a “New World”, I think of one that is unlike the one before it in profound ways. As I write this I am 1700 miles from home pursuing a Doctorate degree. It is something I never thought I’d do. It is also my first time really living on my own away from home. Astrologically I am in my Saturn returns, one of the most if not the most intense spiritual transformation a human goes through in their life time.