For those who've heard the other collaborations between Jamie Saft and Bobby Previte, The New Standard will be a genuine surprise. In a trio setting with veteran Steve Swallow on electric bass, these players deliver ten tunes that define what the album's title plainly states. Saft wrote most of the set while the trio jointly composed the rest. He plays piano on seven tunes and organ on three. His approach to the acoustic instrument here is deeply rooted in the Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons traditions, though traces of Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly are here too. Previte is one of the canniest drummers out there. His voicings on the kit move beyond the snare, cymbal, hi-hat shuffle phraseology so often associated with straight-ahead trio jazz. His tom-tom vamp on "Minor Soul" is infectious. Swallow, who has played virtually every kind of music before, has never been as groove-oriented as he is here -- check his fat, bluesy walk on "Step Lively" for one example. But his tender, lyrical solo on the title track is almost a show stealer. Saft is a renaissance man. Whether it's his elliptical ballad style for "Trek," where modal moves share space with Latin montunos, Hebrew folk music, and a classical motivic; his straight-out fingerpopping swing on "I See No Leader"; his funky soul-jazz vamps on "Clarissa," or his gospel-testifying on the B-3 in "Clearing," he's a modern master. His playing on the latter instrument owes as much to Jon Lord and Garth Hudson as it does Lonnie Smith and John Patton, but given the rhythm section, that's the point. His use of the opening chords from the Band's "Chest Fever" to introduce "Blue Shuffle" is a dramatic feint before Swallow starts strutting the changes and the organist engages in imaginative chord soloing. "All Things to All People," with its Middle Eastern modality, is a stellar showcase for Previte's rumbling, dynamic, low-end inventions. Through them, he exhorts his bandmates to meet him in forceful lyric interplay and they assent. Saft's organ stabs on the track underscore the percussive feel at work in its body. Swallow, meanwhile, plays through the simple changes with maximum verve and expression, answering everyone with an affirmative stability that not only regards time but makes it elastic. The New Standard delivers a series of memorable modern compositions based on older forms but doesn't revel in nostalgia or irony. It's obvious from the end result how much these three massively talented players love this music, and it's quite logical how in such an informal setting, they reveal just how much there is to be discovered and learned from in them.