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Samo Salamon: Dolphyology: Complete Eric Dolphy For Solo Guitar

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Samo Salamon: Dolphyology: Complete Eric Dolphy For Solo Guitar
As the clock ticked toward 2020, jazz guitarists began recording tributes to jazz giants of yesterday who were not guitarists: Dom Minasi offered up a compelling and beautiful salute to pianist Cecil Taylor with Remembering Cecil (Unseen Rain Records, 2019), and Miles Okazaki gave us Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk (Self Produced, 2018). In 2022, it is Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon's turn, with his presentation of Dolphyology: Complete Eric Dolphy For Solo Guitar.

Some would say that Eric Dolphy (1928 -1964), had a trajectory aimed at jazz gianthood cut short when he died due to diabetes complications at thirty-six. But maybe he made it there anyway, via his seven record releases in his lifetime—Out To Lunch (Blue Note, 1964), is a classic— in addition to his stellar sideman work with saxophonists John Coltrane, Oliver Nelson and Ornette Coleman, drummer Chico Hamilton and bassist & composer Charles Mingus. Some would call him a free jazz artist, and this may come, in part, from his soloing, which was wild, freewheeling and unpredictable. On bass clarinet he created loopy, madcap flights of sound, like balloons blown up tight and let go before the rubber stem got tied off. On alto sax he was more frenetic, sharp notes stabbing in from all directions.

If Dolphy flew free on his soloing, his compositions were tethered to the mainstream, pulling toward the "out there" side of that style of jazz. And that is where Samo Salamon comes in, with his guitar.

The solo guitar setting allows for a fresh review of the Dolphy sound. Salamon put the Covid experience to good use by delving deep into the reedman's artistry, listening, transcribing, playing and recording Dolphy tunes in quarantine isolation, in his living room. The twenty-eight compositions presented here, on two CDs, break the Dolphy approach down to its essence. The music is treated reverently, with (Dolphy would surely love this) a good deal of highly inspired improvisation.

The set opens with "Miss Movement," a tune that can be heard on Chico Hamilton's The Three Faces of Chico (Warner Brothers, 1959). Salamon turns it into three minutes of deliberation and clarity, with some particularly piquant single noting. "Serene," from Dolphy's' Far Cry, With Booker Little (New Jazz, 1962) lives up to its title, with the guitarist in a relaxed but focused mode. "Something Sweet, Something Tender," from Dolphy's most famous recording, Out to Lunch (Blue Note, 1964), has Salamon feeling frisky, taking risks, letting things fly like one of Dolphy's freed balloons in the beginning, before settling into a magisterial segment of low tones.

Taken as a whole, these two discs of Dolphy explorations are a riveting, off-the-well-traveled-road listening experience. Salamon cites Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy as major influences. Could Ornette Coleman be next for the solo guitar treatment?

Track Listing

CD 1: Miss Movement; Serene; The Prophet; Miss Ann; Lady E; 17 West; April Fool; Something Sweet, Something Tender; Springtime; Hat And Beard; The Baron; Iron Man; South Street Exit; Inner Flight I. CD 2: 245; Les; Lotsa Potsa; Straight Up And Down; Burning Spear; C.W.; Strength And Unity; Out To Lunch; Mandrake; Far Cry; In the Blues; Red Planet; Gazzelloni; Inner Flight II.

Personnel

Samo Salamon
guitar, electric
Additional Instrumentation

Samo Salamon: acoustic guitars, mandoline (#14, CD 1)

Album information

Title: Dolphyology: Complete Eric Dolphy For Solo Guitar | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Samo Records


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