Wednesday, June 8, 2022


Bandar Log
April 25, 2022

In 2021, Philippe Saisse took a dynamic stylistic detour into the world of lo fi hip hop jazz on “Shift,” a contemporary throwback to his days working with Arif Mardin and Chaka Khan which is still receiving major airplay on SiriusXM’s Watercolors and is included on Spotify’s influential playlists State of Jazz and 21st Century Jazz.

The ever innovative and adventurous keyboardist/ composer returns to his trademark global fusion vibe on his new single “Lost Words,” a vibrant and infectious, multi-genre track that taps into his passion for lush orchestration (drawing particular inspiration from the beautiful string arrangements Johnny Mandel created for Brazilian legend Joao Gilberto in the 70s), Caribbean-African flavors, romantic Brazilian rhythms and harmonies and snappy flamenco magic courtesy of guest guitarist Marc Antoine.

Driven by a powerful synergy with some of his most trusted go-to collaborators – acoustic bassist David Finck, drummer Maurizio Zottarelli and percussion master Gumbi Ortiz (whom the keyboardist has worked with for years in Al Di Meola’s band) – Philippe creates a uniquely soulful journey from an initial feeling of dreamy melancholy to a later sense of bright and hopeful joy that perfectly parallels our collective experiences during the pandemic era.
The intriguing title “Lost Words” speaks to its origins as one of several demos that he was working on as collaborations with Al Jarreau in the years before the legendary singer’s passing in 2017.

Jarreau was excited about the tune, loved the Brazilian style of the track and felt the melody had an Italian quality, so he came up with the working title “Trevi Fountain.” He had scatted some ideas, with every intention of putting lyrics to Saisse’s music. When Jarreau entered the hospital, he took with him a CD with four tracks, intent on writing despite being gravely ill. He also had a black book with lyrics – possibly including the words he wanted for “Trevi Fountain” – but Saisse later learned that the book had been stolen.

So any lyrics he may have written are lost to history – hence the keyboardist’s eventual title “Lost Words,” which is also a subtle homage to author Dan Brown’s 2009 thriller The Lost Symbol. Because of his profound sadness over his friends’ departure, Saisse took five years to begin working again on the track again. The version Saisse is now releasing is very much like the original demo, only now with live drums and a high energy piano solo in the middle.

Steinway acoustic piano, Marimba, Vibraphone, Keyboards, Vocals - Phillipe Saisse
Acoustic Guitar - Marc Antoine
Drums - Mauricio Zottarelli
Percussion - Gumbi Ortiz
Acoustic Bass - David Finck
Soprano, Alto & Bass Flutes - David Mann