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Bassless Trios: Duality by Samo Salamon

One of the more exciting and inventive improvising artists, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon's stylistic modus operandi, coupled with massive chops has earned him prominence within global, progressive-jazz circles. He seems comfortable with the flexibility of smaller ensembles, highlighted here with the dual bass-less trio formats, performing with like-minded and revered US and European musicians.

The first (US) set features alto saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Here, the lack of a bassist instills an open forum, although Salamon does work the lower registers to support Berne at various intervals. With a pristine trio soundscape, the soloists engage in zinging dialogues and navigate through odd-metered unison choruses as Rainey dances and darts across the kit while also filling in the gaps.

The guitarist's animated spurts and intricately designed voicings amid some teaser-like breakouts nicely complement Berne's linear and yearning notes. They lash out atop undulating flows with breakneck phrasings and generate a staggered bop groove on the zesty, "Flying Potatoes." Moreover, Salamon imparts a twangy sound with twirling chord clusters, serving as a faint ostinato riff for Berne and Rainey.

Tracks 5-11 comprises multi-woodwind ace Achille Succi and first-call session drummer Roberto Dani offering a multihued contrast to the US session via concentrated flows and a broader tonal palate, largely due to Succi's bass clarinet work. However, the leader executes a rock riff on "Roofs in the City," where Succi's resonating alto sax choruses culminate into an ominous thematic climate, as the duo recomposes the primary melody. Nonetheless, there's no shortage of ideas during the vast improvisational segments, yet the band tones it down on the breezy and harmonically attractive piece, "Kei's Garden.

Duality is encapsulated by a venture-seeking aura. The musicians' articulations are staged with searching qualities as they toggle between introspection and aggression. Like a fine art piece, the music projects a surfeit of intriguing propositions and diametric angles. Indeed, a top-shelf product that beckons repeated listens.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Samo Salamon
  • CD Title: Bassless Trios: Duality
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Samo Records
  • Musicians: Samo Salamon: guitar; Tim Berne: alto saxophone (1-4); Tom Rainey: drums (1-4); Achille Succi: alto saxophone (5-7, 9), bass clarinet (10, 11); Roberto Dani: drums (5-11).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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