Samo Salamon Trio: Eleven Stories (2012)
Guitarist Samo Salamon never treads on the same ground twice, but that doesn't mean his bands continually rotate personnel. A quick look at his recorded output, which includes approximately a dozen dates over the past decade, indicates that he does have a fondness for mixing, matching and mingling with different musical associates, but he also has his go-to guys; on Eleven Stories, he opts for familiar faces over fresh ones.
Bass-and-tuba man Michel Godard and drummer Roberto Dani have played with Salamon on a regular basis since 2006 and this marks the fourth time they're featured on one of his recordings. They share Salamon's love for the unknown, be it celestial, abstract or acerbic in nature, but they're known quantities to one another. All three appear to feel safe when working together, as they make music that's anything but.
The album sets sail on a gentle breeze provided by Salamon's guitar ("Preface"), but things don't remain calm for long. Mellow moods lead to Dani's clanging percussion and an outward bound jazz version of a Spaghetti Western showdown on "Sour Times." Godard's flapping tuba sound effects and Salamon's digitally prickly guitar sound join to create the next scene ("Cold Feet"), which is more grating than ingratiating, but the tuba works well elsewhere. It dances and runs atop excitable drums ("Ducks On Ice"), melds with Salamon's melodious guitar ("Three"), and ascends into a heavenly atmosphere with the others ("Chinese Bath").
Godard moves between tuba and bass on the album, but one is not a substitute for the other. His tuba is used as a melodic voice while the bass is ballast. Godard lets his stringed friend shape the grooves and anchor the ship ("Dark Road"), and he leaves his behemoth brass buddy to play front man on other tracks. Dani delivers stability when necessary, but his drumming provides mostly shading and coloring than out-and-out percussive blocking.
Salamon serves as aural flavor chemist, mood sculptor, and general contractor. He puts the pieces together in expert fashion, as he moves and observes with an all-seeing eye. He's capable of capturing attention through his solo work ("Dark Road") but he isn't the showboating type. Samo Salamon prefers to serve the music and it pays off time and again.
Track Listing: Preface; Sour; Cold Feet; Ducks On Ice; Three; Dark Road; Chinese Bath; White Herons On Green Meadows; Garlic And Olives; Kei's Melody; Sundays.
Personnel: Samo Salamon: guitar; Michel Godard: tuba (3-5, 7, 10, 11), electric bass (2, 6, 8, 9); Roberto Dani: drums.
Record Label: Samo Records
Style: Modern Jazz