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Samo Salamon Sextet: The Colours Suite

Mark Sullivan By

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Slovenian guitarist/composer Samo Salamon has built a diverse discography, with a wide range of instrumentation. He had always wanted to do a project with two drummers, and a 2016 show at the Jazz Festival Ljubljana finally presented the opportunity—this album documents that performance. Recruiting a sextet made up of a mix of longtime associates and players new to his music, he wrote new music specifically for the group—a departure from most of his previous recordings, which typically have a combination of new compositions and new arrangements of older repertoire.

The call-and response rhythmic riffs of "Yellow" get the suite off to an energetic start, ending with a duet for tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. This approach is typical of the entire composition. It's very much a group sound, but with space for individual instruments to shine. Stylistically it tends towards the free end of Salomon's music. In that context it is notable that while there are no drum solos (resisting the urge to go all Allman Brothers, especially in a live performance), the last piece ("Grey") is a group improvisation. "Black" has a lot of activity in its relatively short span: after a long-line theme over a bass ostinato, the rhythm section goes into double-time for a group conversation. "Green" features a skittering unaccompanied bass solo, while "Red" has an almost unaccompanied guitar spot, busy and chromatic, with a saxophone solo at the end that leads right into "White."

The closing improvisation begins with a pointillistic group dialog—not unlike the sound on some of the earlier tracks. But the abstraction resolves into a neat little collapsing riff at the end. It's the sound of a first-time band that is finely attuned to each other. Several of the players do have a long association with Salamon: drummer Roberto Dani and bass clarinetist Achille Succi (both since 2003), and saxophonist Julian Arguelles (since 2007). Still an impressive performance—a fresh grouping playing complex new music with verve.

Track Listing: Yellow; Black; Green; Red; White; Brown; Blue; Grey.

Personnel: Achille Succi: bass clarinet; Julian Arguelles: tenor and soprano saxophone; Samo Salamon: guitar, production; Pascal Niggenkemper: bass; Roberto Dani: drums; Christian Lillinger: drums.

Title: The Colours Suite | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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