'Crossing' is one of those versatile terms that can be taken many different waysamong other things, it can signify the traversing of a place or boundary, a meeting spot where roads pass each other, or perhaps the act of combining individual things together into a new whole. Simon Sammut means the word in all those senses on his second album. Crossing offers meditative instrumental pieces based on a dozen different concepts, also accompanying each one with a thoughtful background description and piece of often-abstract visual art. Anthony Catania's striking images colorfully reinforce each of the themes and emphasize that this is endeavor is about crossing different media as well as musical styles.
Sammut's supple six-string bass has a warm pleasant tone while the early compositions drift on crisp light drums and airy keys. "Be the Change" makes its statement most overtly with samples of a speech by Jiddu Krishnamurti; otherwise the pieces do their job with atmospheres and evocative melodies rather than words. That track and "Promethean Man" liven things up with the crashing of programmed drum samples, while the rest of the early run spins quieter moods around them before the tracklist builds up steam.
The stronger and more energetic back half is willing to further break out of the easy-listening zone in a couple louder ways. "Frontier" suddenly jumps to the old American west with a banjo-like twang and a rolling rhythmic cadence reminiscent of bouncing wagon wheels. The catchy late-night swing horns of "Fifty Something" provide the album's most straightforwardly fun moment, while the "Princes of Serendip" rounds things off with hard-pounding drums and loud electric guitar wailing across some exotic Eastern scales.
From the sharp sound and production to the attractive artwork, Crossing is a multi-layered labor of love with a lot of thought behind it and a determination to travel through boundaries of all kinds; he and his backing crew can be easy on the ears or as vigorous as the songs demand. Sammut offers the listener a chance not just to listen but to see, think and experience.
Track Listing: 1. The Tin Soldier's Last Dance (feat. Tony Sammut, Melchior Busuttil & Angela Grima)
2. Daruma Doll
3. Be the Change (feat. Melchior Busuttil & Jonathan Ellul)
4. Promethean Man (feat. Melchior Busuttil)
5. Crossing (feat. Melchior Busuttil, Tony Sammut, Lena Sammut & Marc Galea)
6. Shades of Ember (feat. Mark Attard, Marc Galea, Melchior Busuttil & Kris Spiteri)
7. Bell Ringer (feat. Melchior Busuttil)
8. Fifty Something (feat. Kevin Abela, Ivan Borg, Godfrey Mifsud, Jesmond Azzopardi,
Jonathan Ellul, Tony Sammut & Melchior Busuttil)
9. Frozen Glass
10. Frontier (feat. Melchior Busuttil & Tony Sammut)
11. When Stone Comes to Life (feat. Melchior Busuttil)
12. Princes of Serendip (feat. Jonathan Ellul & Melchior Busuttil)
Personnel: Music Composed by Simon Sammut
Visual Art by Anthony Catania
Artistic Associate - Tony Sammut
Artistic Advisor - Kevin Abela
Co-producer/ Technical Advisor – Melchior Busuttil
Featuring the following musicians:
Tony Sammut - Piano
Mark Attard - Piano
Melchior Busuttil - Drums, Percussion and Programming
Marc Galea - Classical & Electric Guitars
Jonathan Ellul - Electric Guitars
Kris Spiteri - Melodica
Kevin Abela - Trumpet
Ivan Borg - Tenor Saxophone
Godfrey Mifsud - Baritone Saxophone
Jesmond Azzopardi - Bass Trombone
Marlene Sammut - Voice
Angela Grima - Flute
Simon Sammut - Upright Bass and Electric basses
Recording by Simon Sammut, Melchior Busuttil and Lito Galea
Production, mixing and mastering: Simon Sammut
Design, duplication and printing: Reciprocal Records
| Year Released: 2017
| Record Label: Simon Sammut
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.