Saltman Knowles: Return of the Composer (2009)
Mark Saltman (double bass) and William Knowles (piano) met at the University of Massachusetts while attending the composition program. They forged a common musical bond, one that has grown stronger over the years.
The two make composition the strong point of their music and the natural springboard for improvisation. But they also explore melody and rhythm and on this CD have brought in vocalist Lori Williams Chisholm to expand the boundaries. With ideas that are stimulating enough, the effect is quite striking.
The band gets right into the groove on "Homeland." The infectious rhythm is carried by Saltman on bass and by Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson on drums with Chisholm scatting lightly. The first salvo is fired by Robert Landham who examines the melody and then injects it with several cohesive phrases. Knowles continues with the flow with rippling runs. Chisholm adds the final stamp, showing her control and finesse with her weaving scat between the melodic lines.
A hint of "Caravan" and a nice groove for dancing shape "Creepin' Up." The initial mellow mood is charged by Alvin Trask whose pungent trumpet enlivens the tune. Landham then adds the fire with deep pithy phrases that change the course o the tune but not the pulse, which is nicely pegged by the bass.
"Shalom and Salaam" mean peace in Hebrew and Arabic. The composition uses elements of both musical strains in a compelling amalgam. In keeping with their vision, Saltman and Knowles infuse a strong rhythmic pattern into a beckoning melody. The crisp playing takes the whole a notch higher.
The art of the composers is well served not only by the writing but by the musical attributes of each one in the band.
Track Listing: Homeland; Bellport; A study in Purple; Shalom and Salaam; Disfavor; Seeds and Deeds; It
Personnel: Mark Saltman: double bass; William Knowles: piano; Lori Williams Chisholm: vocals; Jimmy