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Samo Salamon Trio: Live!

Nic Jones By

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As an instrumentalist guitarist, Salamon's work could almost be defined by what it's not. There's little stylistic allegiance to any widely known guitarist, although passing references can be made to both John Abercrombie and Tal Farlow, a pairing which only goes to show how widely Salamon's net is cast. As it is, this trio has little of "the power" about it, and its music is shot through with a happily shared ear for nuance and detail.

In doubling on both bass guitar and tuba, Michel Godard dramatically extends the trio's sonic range, ensuring he's always at the heart of the music. When not generating the rhythmic heat of "Catch The Train," he's engaging in unison with Salamon's guitar, only going to show how tight this trio is. Drummer Robert Daniway with time also emphasizes the piece's discontinuities, even while it simultaneously highlights the trio's unity.

The music is never disjointed, despite Salamon's compositional trickery—a quality which is best highlighted by "Miss Sarcasm." Here, the age-old contrast of hard and soft is tested without becoming tiresome. The leader's solo throws a spotlight on his rhythmically oblique approach, his phrasing not so much fitting in with his accompanists as providing a model for how he likes to work against imposed constraints. When the music heads for the stratosphere there's still no unwelcome sign of the group straining for effect; such is the depth of collective on show here that this is hardly surprising.

"My Amusing Muse" is all rhythmic subtlety in its opening stage, the music progressing from an initially repetitive figure over which Godard again shows how adept a tubaist he is. When the music breaks down, it's only to indulge in the long-form of a slow build, with Godard again to the fore, while Dani busies himself by imparting some momentum.

"Fall Memories" is unsurprisingly reflective, with Salamon doing full justice to the title. The wistful quality is, however, counterbalanced by the kind of inner tension that only musicians closely familiar with each others' work can convey. The heat and colors they generate are of a similar order, making for a rare expansiveness.


Track Listing: Hebe; Catch the Train; Kei's Secret; My Rain; Miss Sarcasm; Girl with a Nicotine Kiss; Happy Girl; My Amusing Muse; Fall Memories; Spring Forest.

Personnel: Samo Salamon: guitar; Roberto Dani: drums; Michel Godard: tuba, electric bass.

Title: Live! | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Samo Records

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