Samo Salamon – “Eleven Stories”


The trio of Samo Salamon, Michel Godard, and Roberto Dani have been collaborating for a substantial time now.  It goes to show how that kind of investment can pay off.  For all intents and purposes, Eleven Stories shouldn’t work as well as it does.  The compositions possess an odd tunefulness, the melodies have a disembodied quality, and, well, guitar/tuba/drum trios aren’t exactly what the stuff of jazz is made from.

But the thing of it is, the album does work.  It works really really well.

The album has a pleasant sway to it. Salamon has, over time, developed a signature sound on guitar, a razor sharp edge that makes an impression without drawing blood.  When he gets moody on guitar, as he does on “Kei’s Melody,” Salamon evokes whisper of early-ECM Bill Frisell.  When Salamon gets the heart racing on guitar, he sounds like an electrical wire swiftly uncoiling.

Godard forgoes the oompah of the stereotypical tuba, instead bringing the calming throaty gurgle of a forest stream (for instance, the song “Three”), and there’s a heavenly soulfulness he achieves on “Chinese Bath” that is a joy to hear.  Tuba’s gonna sound big no matter what, but Godard has consistently shown the instrument’s delicate side, on this album, past Salamon recordings, and those under Godard’s own name, both in a classical setting but also on other jazz albums, like the excellent 2010 recording Terre Lontane.

In addition to his time spent with Salamon and Godard, drummer Dani has made some notable appearances with Stefano Battaglia.  On Eleven Stories, it’s his tool box mix of percussion on tracks like “Sour” and “Cold Feet” and “Three” where he really shines, because despite their insistence and diversity, the percussion blends right into the stream of things, riffing on the same eccentric quirks in the playing of his trio mates.

The tracks are pretty evenly dispersed between those that brood and simmer and those that crackle and combust.  I think the brooding tunes are the stronger ones on the album, but it’s a close enough score between the two that the difference is likely attributable to personal preference.  Did I mention this was a live album? Well, it is. Sound is perfectly fine.  If it weren’t for the applause between tracks, one would never know it.  Specifically, the recording comes from the last gig, in Germany, of a European tour in April 2011.

Your album personnel: Samo Salamon (guitar), Roberto Dani (drums), Michel Godard (tuba, electric bass).

The album is Self-Produced.

Jazz from the Maribor, Slovenia scene.

Download a free album track at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artists.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: MP3