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'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 love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!