253

Samo Salamon & Aljosa Jeric Quartet: Mamasaal feat. Mark Turner

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Samo Salamon & Aljosa Jeric Quartet: Mamasaal feat. Mark Turner That bandleaders Samo Salamon and Aljosa Jeric are Slovenian doesn't appear to be of much musical relevance; jazz settings of East European folk songs are not the order of the day here. But it might have some metaphorical relevance; just as their tiny homeland has shot to the top of all social, economic and political rankings of countries of the former socialist bloc, this guitar and drum duo has rocketed in a relatively short time to the ranks of world class contemporary jazz musicians. In so doing, they remind—if indeed we needed reminding—just how global the jazz world is.

Mamasaal is either situated—depending upon the perspective—at the comfortable center or the experimental edge of the jazz mainstream. Either way, the compositions are exquisitely fashioned, if at times a little fastidious in their self-conscious modernist complexity. But about half the time ("Pale But Beautiful," "Internal Affairs"), they manage to be memorable and affecting, with a good selection of tempos. "The Shy One"'s ethereal hipness would, for example, be at home on Paul Motian's Garden of Eden (ECM, 2006).

Salamon's playing, in particular, raises this date above the level of merely competent. While he is note-perfect on the complicated melodic lines of the compositions, his solos hit the beat in an approximate way. This creates a kind of tension that derives from a venerable jazz-guitar lineage, reaching back to Melvin Sparks and James Blood Ulmer, transmuted through Pat Metheny's bell-like clarity. Much of Salamon's soloing alternates fragments of rapid-fire lines with strumming that serves to reset the sonic pattern and which provides structure: this approach is most neatly and notably displayed in the borderline-free improvisational segment of "High Heels."

It's not unfair to single out Mark Turner's role—after all, the boys put his name in the album's title. Here, as on the more celebrated and roughly contemporary sophomore effort of Turner's collaborative Fly trio—Sky & Country (ECM, 2009)—the saxophonist speaks with relentless imagination and self-assured coherence. His solos repeatedly give the impression of purposefully zeroing in on the musical heart of the compositions—the way he seizes on the giant steps of "Internal Affairs," for example, or makes sense of the complicated melody of "Little Eva." His honking, abrasive entry on "High Heels" stretches, but does not break, the thematic unity of the album.

Meanwhile, young bassist Matt Brewer (sideman to Greg Osby, among others), is unfailingly alert and inventive, with his harmonics-laden solo on "Internal Affairs" a highlight of the disc. Drummer Jeric's playing is crisp and approachable; he is not afraid to shuffle when the need arises ("Elephants on Holiday").

Ultimately, it is irrelevant and a little condescending to point to Salamon and Jeric's nationality. They will hold their own against all comers, whatever their provenance.


Track Listing: Flying Serpents; High Heels; Little Eva; Night Thoughts; Internal Affairs; Pale But Beautiful; Make The Duck Sound; Elephants On Holidays; Happy Girl; The Shy One.

Personnel: Mark Turner: tenor sax; Samo Salamon: guitar; Matt Brewer: bass; Aljosa Jeric: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Dometra | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Adam Rogers Adam Rogers
guitar
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Greg Osby Greg Osby
saxophone
Brad Shepik Brad Shepik
guitar

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Eastern Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Eastern Smiles
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Whisper" CD/LP/Track Review Whisper
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Alive Out There" CD/LP/Track Review Alive Out There
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Border Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Border Crossing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Planet
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!