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Samo Salamon NYC Quintet: Government Cheese (2007)

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Samo Salamon NYC Quintet: Government Cheese How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Guitarist Samo Salamon creates his music in the cast of his band, the stylistic differences coming to life in the particular conglomeration. A man of many musical parts, he can take rock and meld it with jazz, let it swing and let it move with an agile sweetness. He can let structure loose from composition to find a startling, new ambit.

The compositions have depth and strength, testimony to his gift as a writer. He also shows considerable skills as a guitarist, his playing rife with ideas. That he has a top-notch band only adds to the appeal of this album.

The arrangement of "The Bee and the Knee lets it move through various structures. Josh Roseman lays the base work on the trombone over which Dave Binney skips lightly on alto saxophone. The contrast is geared by the supple drumming of Gerald Cleaver. Salamon notches it upward, his guitar singing out the melody. When he gets off that track, he opens up some snappy ideas and draws Roseman into the conversation. The most tantalising moments come when it rises and arcs into a more intense groove and Binney spins a web of enticement.

"The Last Goodbye is a gentle ballad. The mood is laid back, the calm atmosphere softly stirred by Salamon and Binney, as they weave and intersperse shimmering lines. Mark Helias comes up front on "Up and Down, his brief but luminous exploration the messenger for a robust turn by Roseman. Salamon gets into a different spectrum bending his strings, with strafing rock textures sending the tune into an upward spiral. Helias is more pronounced here than on the other tunes and he serves the tune marvelously with his harmonic sensibility.

Track Listing: How They Washed My Brain; The Bee and the Knee; Her Name; Eat the Monster; It Rains When it Falls; The Last Goodbye; Up and Down.

Personnel: Samo Salamon: guitar; Dave Binney: alto saxophone; Josh Roseman: trombone; Mark Helias: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.

Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent


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