303

Samo Salamon Sextet: Ela's Dream

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Samo Salamon Sextet: Ela's Dream Slovenian guitarist Samo Å alamon's '03 recording Ornethology was something of an epiphany. From the most unlikely of places, a young artist had emerged, not only possessing a frightening command of his instrument, but also gifted with the kind of maturity and artistic vision that would be remarkable regardless of age or origins. While that disc reflected a relatively newfound interest in the music of Ornette Coleman—it consisted largely of original compositions in the spirit of Coleman—he has also been an incredibly hard-working player, with five different projects going on concurrently, including the ethnic musings of his Ansasa Trio and its '02 recording, Arabian Picnic.

Two years later Å alamon hasn't let up a bit. His new album, the live Ela's Dream, continues to explore the path set down by Coleman, in particular with his early-'60s Atlantic recordings. What is becoming clear, however, is that Å alamon is integrating Coleman's spirit into pieces that, while providing plenty of space for improvisation—Å alamon's five compositions range from ten to twenty minutes—also demonstrate a stronger disposition to form.

The odd-metered riff of "Broken Windows and its circuitous theme reflect a structural idiosyncrasy reminiscent of alto saxophonist David Binney's writing—and, indeed, Binney can be found as a member of Å alamon's sextet. Ultimately, however, Å alamon's form is used as a foundation for a powerful saxophone tradeoff between Binney and Achille Succi—another alto player, who returns from Ornethology and possess a slightly sweeter tone as compared to Binney's edgier timbre. The two saxophones raise the heat, leading into a fiery guitar/drum duet between Å alamon and Zlatko Kaučič, another Ornethology alumnus who has been something of a mentor to Å alamon over the past few years.

That Å alamon bears some resemblance to John Scofield is no surprise; he studied with Scofield, and he adopts a similarly gritty tone. But whereas Scofield is full of grease and blue notes, Å alamon possesses more of a European aesthetic, coupled with a looser sense of freedom and elasticity with time that brings to mind Sonny Sharrock or James "Blood Ulmer at his more adventurous.

Å alamon's playing reflects a barely controlled intensity. Even "Emotional Playground, which begins as a gentle ballad, ultimately resolves into an odd-metered core, featuring a searching solo from Å alamon that gradually builds in power. Å alamon demonstrates a palpable evolution since Ornethology, now far more capable of shaping an extended solo and giving it form over the long run.

And Ela's Dream is but the first in a series of recent collaborations that includes two sessions from a visit to New York—a quintet date with Binney, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Gerald Cleaver; and a quartet date with saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Tom Rainey. Å alamon is aligning himself with all the right players and he's clearly evolving at a rapid pace. Hopefully these two New York sessions and Ela's Dream will garner him the attention he rightfully deserves.

Visit Samo Å alamon on the web.

Track Listing: Coffee With A Girl; Emotional Playground; There's Still Dog Food Left In It; Ela's Dream; Broken Windows

Personnel: Samo

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Splasc(H) Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Heads & Tales Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Heads & Tales Volume 2
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "All L.A. Band" CD/LP/Track Review All L.A. Band
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "A Missing Shade of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A Missing Shade of Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Les Indignés" CD/LP/Track Review Les Indignés
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!