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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon: 2Alto

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2014 has already been a productive year for Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon. Earlier this year, Salamon released the ambitious Orchestrology where he recorded with strings and now comes an album with focus on the sound of alto saxophones. 2Alto finds the guitarist in the familiar company of drummer Roberto Dani, who also played on Orchestrology. The new faces this time are the alto saxophonists Loren Stillman and John O'Gallagher. Salamon wrote new music, specifically with these master stylists in mind, and the result is a true feast of contrapuntal playing that revives the legacy of saxophonists Lee ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon & The Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra: Free Strings: Orchestrology

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Slovenian guitarist Samo Šalamon has to be one of the most versatile and restlessly explorative musicians active today. His 2013 collaboration with The Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra, Free Strings: Orchestrology sheds light on his superb compositional skills as he leads the ensemble in interpreting thirteen of his originals. An overall cinematic atmosphere permeates the record with each individual track containing a cohesive narrative that ranges from the expansive to the intimate. The dramatic “Dutilleux" opens with the sweeping strings alternating with Šalamon and drummer Roberto Dani's tense vamps. The resulting expectant mood ushers Šalamon's thick haunting chords, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon & The Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra: Free Strings: Orchestrology

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Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon is not content to rest on his laurels or enviable chops. His two-CD set, Stretching Out (Sazas, 2013), was a fierce progressive jazz and improvisational implosion featuring his work with US and European quartets. Free Strings: Orchestrology signifies a 360-degree turnaround with a core trio and collaboration with the Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra, highlighting Janez Podlesek's solo violin passages. Salamon's thirst for exploring variable forms of artistic expression is a multifaceted exposition, combining third stream underpinnings with avant jazz improvisation and a heterogeneous brew, modeled with asymmetrical doses of freedom and convention. Interspersed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon & The Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra: Free Strings: Orchestrology

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It's not a new thing that jazz musicians like to record with strings. Legendary alto saxophonist Charlie Parker lamented the loss of his string section after he had the thrill of touring and recording with strings and fellow saxophonists Stan Getz and Art Pepper both picked an album with strings, Focus (Verve, 1961) and Winter Moon (Galaxy, 1980), respectively, as a career highlight. Some might say that part of the attraction of the use of strings is the credibility it brings from classical music, but it could be argued that classical music needs jazz just as much ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon: Stretching Out

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Slovenian master guitarist and composer Samo Šalamon is one of those rare musicians whose versatility is not aimless and his unique, instantly recognizable, style is far from predictable. Both of these characteristics are amply demonstrated on his fourteenth release, the double disc set Stretching Out comprising of two live sessions captured in 2008, and 2012. On the earlier date, Šalamon leads an all American quartet on three of his long and fiery originals that crackle with spontaneity and raw but elegant brio. On “My Rain/Kei's Blues," saxophonist Donny McCaslin lets loose an energetic and organic improvisation that gains ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon: Stretching Out

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Cosmopolitan is a term that is often used to describe musicians, but in the case of Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon, it is certainly a description that fits. Salamon has turned the restless nature of the travelling musician into an aesthetic strategy and has worked with two different quartets that represent his different musical sides: the hip underground of the New York jazz scene and the experimental sensibility of the European avant-garde. Stretching Out is an ambitious double album that offers a full portrait of his working groups. Disc one consists of four compositions played ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Trio: Eleven Stories

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon: Eleven Stories

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Slovenian guitarist Samo Šalamon has earned many accolades throughout his decade-long recording career; listening to Eleven Stories it is quite clear why. A fearless explorer of sonic landscapes, Šalamon and his trio of the past six years presents an exhilarating program of eleven elegiac tracks, each one a gem in its own right. The somewhat whimsical “Cold Feet" is an intelligent, almost surreal, conversation among the three musicians, during which Šalamon's cool and edgy guitar lines contrast with tubaist Michel Godard's deep and dark choruses and Roberto Dani's invigorating drumming. Šalamon flirts with some rock and roll ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Bassless Trios: Duality

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Guitarist Samo Salamon is one of those players quietly but fully engaged with moving the music forward. His vocabulary is entirely his own by dint of the individuality of phrasing that pervades the music of both trios featured in this set. Despite the similarity of instrumentation, the two groups' different personalities is testament to what's going down. The US trio, with alto saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey, flirts with the kind of music Ornette Coleman was producing with Prime Time, albeit with a greater measure of reflection and less febrile energy. “Mea Culpa," in particular, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Bassless Trios: Duality

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By splitting the program between two different bass-less trios connected to opposite sides of the Atlantic, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon has managed to bridge the continental divide on Duality. This project could turn into a compare-and-contrast session on the music made by the two groups, alternately dubbed the “US Trio" and “European Trio," and that line of thinking, while merely providing one way of looking at the music, has merit. Salamon may helm both trios, but each group has a distinctive sound and style which sheds light on different facets of the guitarist's work. Salamon has a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Trio: Almost Almond

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Guitarist Samo Šalamon has exhibited a high level of creativity on his recordings. He continues to manifest that trait on this release, his 11th as leader. As before, the material entices, as it moves between laidback tunes that are bathed in a soft glow, or hard permutations that crackle and snap. Add little twists like the times he lets the melody slip in almost perceptibly into the framework, and Almost Almond becomes a lair of delightful aural textures.The trio is an exceptional one. Bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey stoke the fires of invention, urging Šalamon on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Trio: Almost Almond

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It's starting to feel as if the further guitarist Salamon Salamon progresses in his career, the faster the company he keeps. On this trio date, he's working with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey, both with numerous appearances on record to their credit. But Salamon isn't out of his depth; this is a trio that speaks with one voice. It would be wrong, however, to infer that this is upright music. Salamon is arguably a little indebted to both John Abercrombie and Kurt Rosenwinkel, but the names are mere pointers in view of his rhythmic conception, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon: Almost Almond

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Samo Salamon has been compared to everybody from Ben Monder, John Scofield and John Abercrombie, to Sonny Sharrock and Tal Farlow. This list, referencing a group of guitarists that have little in common, will leave plenty of people scratching their heads, but it points to the fact that this young Slovenian guitarist knows no bounds. Salamon seems intent on avoiding any one label, as proven by his string of albums in the new millennium, mixing European and American artists with great results. The music on Almost Almond covers a lot of ground, moving from gritty, distorted lines ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Trio: Live!

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Guitarist Samo Salamon has shown, through his recordings, that he is capable of pushing boundaries. His instrument is the wellspring for ideas that manifest themselves in his compositions that traverse various genres. His playing is luminous and harmonically rich, driven by the clarity of his ideas. Salamon also continues to mature as a writer. His compositions here are not only saturated with appealing melodies, they are also fertile ground for improvisation.

The number of members in Salamon's bands varies. For him, size does not matter as this CD, pared down to his European Trio, proves. Roberto Dani and Michel Godard ...



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