To call guitarist Samo Salamon prolific would be something of an understatement. Over the past decade Salamon has released more than fifteen albums, most of which document different cross-cultural trio and quartet explorations. His discography includes albums like Two Hours
(Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006), a rhythm-plus-horn date with left-of-center players like tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby
and drummer Tom Rainey
; Fall Memories
(Splasc(h) Records, 2007), featuring the odd and enthralling combination of tuba, guitar, accordion, and drums; and Duality
(Samo Records, 2011) and 2 Alto
(Steeplechase, 2014), both small group alto saxophone-guitar-drum affairs sans bass. Little River
, in some respects, falls into that last category. But it also stands apart. Salamon didn't call on any alto saxophonists for this bass-less project, but he does keep reeds in the picture: Oregon
-associated multi-reedist Paul McCandless
joins Salamon and drummer Roberto Dani
on this musical journey. Together, they create a musical melange of different sounds, colors and textures. There are quirky and angular jaunts that hint at Ornette Coleman
's vernacular ("Remy"), mind-altering trips into the cosmos ("Little River"), and riff-driven numbers that descend into a state of anarchy before peace is declared ("Blown Away").
This trio proves to be both prudent and offbeat in its musical presentations. These intuitive players take musical spirit walks together ("Summer Strawberries"), chew on their thoughts in odd-metered surroundings ("Kei's Garden"), explore positive and negative charges between bass clarinet, guitar, and drums ("Asking For A Break"), and create meditative sonic paintings. Confidence, sensitivity, trust, and patience prove to be chief among the merits of these men. While Salamon's restless nature often finds him looking for his next band, he might want to consider taking this trio out for another spin on a future album. It's a lineup that's definitely worth revisiting.
Hebe; Little River; Blown Away; Kei's Garden; Asking For A Break; Remy; Northern
Wind; Nantucket; Summer Strawberries
Samo Salamon: guitar; Paul McCandless: soprano saxophone, oboe, bass clarinet;
Roberto Dani: drums.