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Monday, June 27, 2022

Samo Salamon, Arild Andersen & Ra Kalam Bob Moses - Pure and Simple (Samo Records 2022)

By Matthew Banash

Samo Salamon calls this recording a dream come true in the liner notes and with Arild Anderson on bass and Ra Kalam Bob Moses on drums and percussion it’s easy to see and hear why.

The trio wrote most of the tunes collectively and there’s a sweet Albert Ayler cover.

Call it “American primitive meets pan-global jazz” if that does it for you. But don’t stop there. This tidy trio recording illustrates how Salamon, and the trio moves between genres, styles, and settings aplomb.

“Tell Yourself” opens with Anderson’s rumbling, thick but fluid bass and Moses creating the wide expanse for Salamon’s piquant playing. At eight minutes it's the release’s longest track and unfolds at a nice even simmer harken back to an ECM sound.

“Room of Clouds” is a perfect title with Salamon’s deference to Anderson’s bass and Moses’ Eastern tones. Salamon glides behind laying down shimmering violin like tones echoing a saxophone. These three move at their own pace, a hallmark I have noticed on more than a few of Salamon’s recordings. I call it “timelessness” as in without time.

The term Power Trio will get tossed around and that’s cool, it applies, but the music transcends the label. “The Golden Light of Evening.” This may be that “typical” cut but as pacing goes it's in the right place, nudging the ambience and tones up a bit, building on what came before. It shows Salamon’s versatility as well, interacting with and complimenting the bass and drums. Anderson has some nice touches that mingle a percussive style with his usual dexterity.

Salamon picks up the 12 - string for “You Take My Arm” and Moses plays a subtly dizzying array of beats as Anderson forges the song ahead. This is my favorite track so far, a mix of world music and American primitive, world rhythms and acoustic guitar with lustrous shimmers. There’s always plenty of space for the three to not just play but build. And again, the timeless is there, the music is on its own clock.

Another favorite is “Something Unusual “with Salamon getting a clean but expansive palette out of his electric guitar with Moses playing percussion that sounds like the Amazon flowing by. Anderson’s bass is the mountain and Salamon’s guitar are the climber’s steps. Moses’ percussion the human breath propelling them all upward.

Onomatopoeia: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz, hiss) - I don't know how this works with the song titles but it must have happened with this one. It reflects not only the spirit of a composition and recording but sounds to me like The Moon Departing After a Night With Us. Enjoy.

“Little Song” has an ECM / Rypdal vibe, tribal, emotive, and locked in. Embodies what the release’s title signifies, crystalline essence in the now… I could listen to this all day and night.

“Pure Simple Being” Moses’ song is the farthest thing away from the power trio concept, co-favorite song.

The recording concludes with “Ghosts'' by Albert Ayler. Perhaps another left turn but then again perhaps not. Ayler was known to have folk elements to his music, and this is an example of the perfect execution of that form for it feels like they are returning to the source for the apotheosis. A brilliant culmination tying all the personalities, styles, sounds and timbres together in way that personifies this trio.