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ABEILLEMUSIQUE - Two Hours (March 2006):

T rès actif sur le front de la musique instrumentale jazz à New York, le guitariste d’origine slovène Samo Salamon s’offre un nouveau plaisir en compagnie de trois musiciens confirmés des studios new-yorkais. Cinquième album de l’intéressé, Two Hours est une traversée fantasque dans un hard bop de très bonne tenue, avec la participation haute en couleur d’un Tony Malaby en grande forme Where’s the Bill ?. Avec des hommages appuyés à Bill Frisell et Steve Lacy, Salamon n’oublie pas ses influences. De l’influence, il en apportera sûrement avec ce jazz enjoué et coloré, qui ne s’endort jamais sur ses lauriers. 

CITIZEN JAZZ - Two Hours (March 2006):

Concernant Samo Salomon, après première écoute ça sent bon ! Le leader est pas mal mais ces trois compagnons sont tellement exceptionnels, encore une fois...Ma main s'est tendue vers ce nouveau Fresh Sound New Talent: Samo Salomon, cette semaine à la FNAC. J'ai failli le prendre à la seule vue des noms de Malaby, Helias et Rainey. Et puis j'ai vu que ce Salomon que je ne connais pas est un guitariste, hélas!

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Two Hours (John Kelman, March 2006):

Sometimes two hours is enough. Groups like Oregon and the Dave Holland Quintet have shown the value of developing long-term chemistry, but sometimes the energy of the unexpected can be equally motivating. With the one rehearsal for Two Hours sideswiped by an unexpected grab of the New York rehearsal space for a movie shoot, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon truly made the most out of a situation that might have unnerved a less confident player. 

The musicians chosen for the date—saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Tom Rainey—are all well-accustomed to working without a safety net. And so, after a brief acoustic rehearsal at Helias’ home, the quartet went into the studio the next day and cut the album’s ten original compositions in just two hours. But you’d never know it. 

Salamon’s ambitious nature has been apparent since the out-of-nowhere surprise that was Ornethology (Independent, 2003). With four additional releases slated for this year, 2006 may be the year he makes the leap into greater visibility, especially given that his collaborators include figures like Drew Gress, Josh Roseman, David Binney and Mark Turner. If Two Hours is anything to go by, it’s going to be an exciting year. 

While Salamon often utilizes a gritty tone that references his appreciation for John Scofield, he’s also moving towards greater warmth. “Empty Heart,” a lyrical ballad that flows gracefully despite its 3-4-3 metric irregularity, has a 7/4 middle section that’s just outré enough harmonically to give the piece added depth. On the more mainstream ballad “The Lonely Tune,” Salamon demonstrates increasing confidence in going it alone. His self-contained introduction could easily have gone on longer. But Salamon is a democratic leader, and everyone gets plenty of room to move here and elsewhere on the disc. 

The guitarist's motif-oriented constructive approach to soloing is remarkably developed. His extended solo on the jagged “One for Steve Lacy,” supported by Rainey alone, is a case of one motif explored and enhanced, gradually evolving into another. And another. By the solo’s end, all reference to the initial idea is gone, but the trip is logical and clearly intentioned. 

The spirit of Ornette remains strong in Salamon’s writing. The lengthy theme of the staggered but still swinging “A Melody for Her” opens up to freer interplay between Salamon, Helias and Rainey, as does the even more idiosyncratic “Where’s the Bill,” a tip of the hat to the wry humour of Bill Frisell. 

It's a given that Malaby, Helias and Rainey—whose unencumbered adaptability is increasingly evident with every session he does—are as elastic as Salamon’s writing. In many cases a recording where a relative unknown hires more visible players can come off as nothing more than a session. Two Hours, on the other hand, with its unmistakable communal engagement, makes the most of the enlisted players’ clear respect for the leader. If Salamon’s other releases this year approach the chemistry of Two Hours, then this may well be the year for this rapidly developing Slovenian find. 

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Two Hours (Paul Olson, March 2006):

Next time you find yourself underwhelmed by a jazz recording on an indie jazz label, it might be entirely the fault of the artist—some people make bad records, after all. That said, the whole system might be the culprit: small labels offer musicians opportunities to do sessions, but don’t (and usually can’t) give them what they need most to make a proper album: time. Time is money in the studio, of course, and rehearsal must occur on the artist’s dime before the studio date. 

Slovenian guitarist/composer Samo Salamon alludes to these sorts of conditions in the title of his new quartet CD Two Hours—that’s how long the album took to record after the band (composed of Salamon, bassist Mark Helias, drummer Tom Rainey and tenorman Tony Malaby) managed to eke out one amp-free rehearsal and one live gig. 

Fortunately, that’s how these guys operate—at least one of them’s probably playing a New York gig tonight under the same sorts of cicrumstances—and you’ll have to strain pretty hard to find any slackness or stumbling in the playing on Two Hours, a bracingly tough yet ultimately melodic collection of ten Salamon originals. 

Salamon had an apprenticeship with John Scofield in 2000, and you might hear some Sco-tone in his electric guitar playing, but his slightly overdriven sound, light, brisk touch and jagged, mild-dementia phrasing’s his own; if he resembles anyone at times, it’s a more jazz-inflected Marc Ribot. In any case, his jaggedness is just the bitter coating of a sweet musical pill—he’s really a melodist at heart. Salamon’s tone blends marvelously with Malaby’s robust tenor lines, and the two contribute memorable unison heads to “A Melody for Her” and “Does David Know He’s Not Brown?”—just to name a couple. 

“Empty Heart,” the CD opener, is, simply put, one of the best songs of the year, with a delicate, simple theme that Chet Baker (or any of his European ECM trumpet brethren) would love. Helias threads the track with augustly deep, woody lines that sound eminently wise—both before, after and during his a cappella solo that is slowly joined by Malaby, then Rainey and Salamon. 

Malaby and Salamon bite off the cagey theme of “A Melody for Her” with real gusto, and the group’s sudden, telepathic shift from a looser time into a straight 4/4 swing during Malaby’s solo emphatically undermines any claim to the band being negatively affected by underrehearsal. Here and elsewhere, Salomon’s single-note, non-chordal lines act more like a horn than guitar, and, horn-like, he often lays out during Malaby’s solos. 

“Silence of the Poets” is a strange blues with an incantatory, improvised drums/arco bass introduction and, later, a deep-emotion Malaby solo that’s buttressed by whining volume swells and feeback groans from the leader over autonomous bass and drums. It’s a perfect, satisfying blend of beauty and noise. 

The music on Two Hours rises above the circumstances of its creation. You’ll be hearing more from Salamon. 

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Two Hours (David Miller, March 2006):

Samo Salamon is a master guitarist. His chops go unchallenged; at any moment he could play any note or chord on the instrument. That said, Two Hours is a disappointment. Salamon and his bandmates (Tony Malaby, tenor sax; Mark Helias, bass; Tom Rainey, drums) fall victim to two of the biggest traps in jazz: sub-par songwriting and uninspired playing. 

Salamon studied for a year under John Scofield, and the Sco influence shows in Salamon’s tone, as well as his lightning runs. “Empty Heart” opens the album and is a highlight, almost reminiscent of the great ensemble playing in ScoLoHoFo. Malaby plays an eccentric Lovano-ish solo, while Salamon’s chording during the theme is gripping. In this example of superb ensemble playing, not only are the musicians responding to each other, they are also playing with a purpose. 

Salamon has freer tendencies than Scofield, and this recording highlights his proclivity. However, more often than not it sounds forced and out of context. The solo breaks on many of the tunes are contrived, essentially breakdowns into space from straight jazz melodies. As I see it, one essential aspect of great free playing is its emotional content. The great free players are able to eschew the boundaries of music and really play what they feel. While Salamon and his counterparts obviously have the chops to play free, they lack the sheer emotion necessary to sustain interest. Sure, Rainey’s drums provide perfect counterpoint to Salamon’s rushes, and Malaby and the guitarist are completely in synch throughout the recording. But without that emotion, much of their playing comes through as noise. 

This recording does show promise. Salamon will be heard from again; his immense chops preclude him from falling by the wayside. And while the songwriting here is not great, it is clear that Salamon is able to write a simple, melodic, catchy tune. While Two Hours is not recommended, Salamon is a guitarist worth keeping track of. 

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Two Hours (Chris May, March 2006):

Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon has generated a good degree of heat over the last couple of years, first with his self-published '03 album Ornethology, then with last year's Ela's Dream. Both discs suggested the emergence of a young guitarist well on the way to finding a distinctive personal voice. The early promise is fulfilled on Two Hours, Salamon's first album with a US lineup, recorded in New York in late '04 with a tough local crew. 

Salamon is engaging both as a guitarist and as a composer (all the tunes here are originals), and he brings the same agitated energy to both endeavours. His music is eager and edgy and excited, and his lines! pile up! climactic resolution! after climactic resolution! He can turn his hand to a more leisurely lyricism (as on “Empty Heart” and “The Lonely Tune,” both, as their titles suggest, poignant introspections), but is most impressive on hot, jittery, uptempo post-Ornette Coleman miniatures. 

Salamon has picked 'n' mixed pragmatically from the harmolodic menu, but he hasn't bought the whole nine yards; when he's at his hottest, you can hear traces of James Blood Ulmer, but other lines recall Bill Frisell and early mentor John Scofield. Sonny Sharrock also peers around the corner from time to time. Salamon uses effects sparingly (mainly chorus and distortion) and has a penchant for tempo changes. He hasn't quite arrived at his destination yet, but Two Hours suggests he may soon. 

Salamon's hands-across-the-ocean band here is busting. The album was recorded in just two hours, with one sotto voce rehearsal in bassist Mark Helias's apartment, thus necessitating a high degree of attentiveness and interaction between the musicians in the studio. The resulting collective spontaneity is well suited to Salamon's open-ended skeletal tunes and improvising abandon, and if the band doesn't always land on the one in perfect unison, a few ragged edges sit happily within the music. All three American musicians shine; saxophonist Tony Malaby is a particular thrill and delight, with split tones, growls, smears, lurches, jabs and body punches tumbling out of his tenor. 

Salamon, whose recording activity is as prolix as his music, has announced no less than five new albums to be released this year and next—with a New York quintet, two different European quartets, a US/European quartet, and a trio with Drew Gress and Tom Rainey. On this occasion, then, it is safe to predict that he's “a musician we'll be hearing a lot more from in the future.” 

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Jazz In Europe (John Kelman, December 2005):

While Nicholson's thesis is flawed, equally I'd say that in support of Bev while innovation in jazz has not shifted specifically to Europe, no longer is it the exclusive domain of the US. Innovation is happening everywhere - from the US to England, Germany to Norway, Finland to Slovenia. The role that American artists continue to play in the evolution of jazz cannot be undermined and should never be understated; but neither should the fact that its continued growth is also happening because of non-American artists including Tim Garland, Tomasz Stanko, Kenny Wheeler, Jon Balke, Iro Haarla, Django Bates, Iain Ballamy, Trygve Seim, Samo Salamon, Markus Stockhausen, and so many more. 

Equally, American artists like Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, John Hollenbeck, Maria Schneider and others are doing great work to prevent jazz from becoming simply a museum piece. 

ALLABOUTJAZZ - New Releases of 2005 (Marc Meyers):

    * SF Jazz Collective, /The Inaugural Season 2004/, Self-published 
    * Samo Salamon, /Ela's Dream/, Splasc(H) 
    * Fred Hersch, /Leaves Of Grass/, Palmetto 
    * Wayne Shorter, /Beyond The Sound Barrier/, Verve 
    * Bud Shank, Phil Woods,/ Bouncing With Bud And Phil/, Capri 
    * Drew Gress, /7 Black Butterflies/, Premonition 
    * Sonny Rollins, /Without A Song/, Milestone 

JOHN SCOFIELD (December 2000):
"I have known Samo Salamon for four years and have enjoyed watching him develop as a player. It is my opinion that he is a talented, highly motivated and hard working musician and composer."

CHRIS POTTER (November 2003):
"Very open music conceptually – great use of textures and sounds."

DAVE DOUGLAS (August 2003):
"Great playing and writing!"

JAZZ WEEKLY - Ela's Dream (Ken Waxman, October 2005):

ELA’S DREAM was recorded four months before that at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival. Based around the compositions of Slovenian guitarist Samo Šalamon, the sextet is decidedly international. Maribor-born Šalamon has studied and recorded in New York with bands featuring bassist Mark Helias, drummer Tom Rainey and alto saxophonist Dave Binney, the last of whom is also present here. Sharing the front line is Indianapolis-born, Verona-resident trumpeter Kyle Gregory, who is also in baritone saxophonist Alberto Pinton’s Clear Now group, and alto saxophonist and bass clarinetist Achille Succi, who plays in a variety of bands including The Italian Instabile Orchestra. Bassist Paolino Dalla Porta is one of the busiest accompanists in Italy, while fellow percussionist Zlatko Kau?i? is a well-traveled Slovenian, who works throughout Europe and recorded an interesting duo session with reedist Mauro Negri.

Drumheller’s episodic and march-like compositions are very much of a piece, leading to a certain sameness in execution – but not one that offends. In contrast, perhaps because of festival excitement, Šalamon’s pieces, which are invested with high spirits as those on RAT-DRIFTING, are allowed to run on a little too long. Twenty minutes more lengthy than the other CD, ELA’S DREAM could have been far superior with judicious self-editing on the stand.

As it is, with the exception of “Broken Windows”, which is less than 10½-minutes in length, all the other tracks read out at more than 15 minutes each, with the title track nearly 20 on its own. Unfortunately much of the skill exhibited by different band members is dissipated at the beginning of “Ela’s Dream” when Kau?i?’s blunt and reverberating solo stretches past five minutes, having started to wear out its welcome at the four-minute mark. Although his ratamacues, rumbles and ruffs have subsided into focused accompaniment by then, the light-hearted scampering theme doesn’t really put things on an even keel. 

After that, to darting bass accompaniment, Binney begins flutter tonguing a theme variation which soon works its way to side slipping spetrofluctuation, split tones, squeaks and smears. Kau?i?’s flashy flams segment another variation, after which the saxman’s repetitive four-note phrase turns to carefully splayed grace notes, backed by melodious double-stopping from the bass. Bugle-like crescendos from the trumpeter, plus double counterpoint from Binney’s alto and Succi’s sonorous bass clarinet lead to sweeping licks from Šalamon with a finale of altissimo and tremolo passages from all the horns. 

“There's Still Dog Food Left In It” suffers from similar solo excess, although this time it’s the rubbed and struck rhythmic output of Dalla Porta that is over-extended. Showcasing his skill for over eight minutes can only impress bass-playing fan boys. This excess seems to have affected the others as well, since the harmonics used by the trumpeter and guitarist to take out the piece have an unfortunate resemblance to lines played by pop-jazz bands of the 1970s.

Much more palatable are the other tunes, including “Coffee With A Girl”, which probably by the virtue of opening the program, is memorable almost throughout its 18¼-minute length. Deliberately episodic and influenced by Ornette Coleman’s later style, its motion is refocused rather than slowed by contributions from all the band members.

Its expository theme stated by trumpet squeaks, alto smears and extended double picked guitar lines, Šalamon’s chording frenzy is soon cut by bass clarinet snorts and brassy trumpet flares. A new variation turns the theme from andante to allegro, as the guitarist’s quick figures turn to crunches and snaps. Using his effects pedal, Šalamon’s line upturns to rock-like interface, accompanied by stentorian banging from Kau?i?, as if the two of them were Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton in their Cream prime, turning their hands to jazz improvising.

Not that the other musicians mark time however. Binney’s alto saxophone turns from double tonguing and snorting in its lower registers to moving forward with accented trills and repeated arpeggios, to explode into fizzy and overblown pitch vibrato backed by bounces from the drummer. Subsequently, Succi’s appropriately tonal bass clarinet lines, backed by a steady walking pace from Dalla Porto ratchet up to altissimo reed-biting squeaks, then modulates down to Dolphy-like phrasing. Counter lines from the other horns bring forward another theme variation and the piece climaxes with elliptical buzzes from Succi, sprightly grace notes from Gregory and an ending that’s mostly polyphonic counterpoint 

Performed with enough polytonality, elastic time sense and extended techniques to be 21st century modern, the rhythmic and melodic implication of Šalamon’s tunes recall classic well-constructed anthems. He’s no Gigi Gryce or Benny Golson, but the combination of his supple lines and first -class blowing makes most of the work here memorable.

SUONO - Ela's Dream (Sergio Spada, September 2005):

Un lavoro interessante, realizzato da un musicista giovane ma tutt’altro che di “primo pelo”: il chitarrista Samo Salamon, “leader” di un gruppo cui non manca la personalità e la cui esperienza collettiva risulta invidiabile quando comparata alla musica prodotta in questo Ela’s Dream. Registrato “live” in Slovenia nel 2004, il disco (dedicato ad un cane particolarmente caro a Samo) annovera un sestetto di elevata affidabilità, indubbia coesione e forte duttilità musicale,composto da musicisti pronti all’esplorazione delle più diverse vie che caratterizzano i percorsi del jazz e le loro derivazioni. Parlando di Salamon qualcuno scomoda Ornette Coleman, e non a torto, proprio per l’approccio che il chitarrista usa verso la materia musicale da comporre o da plasmare secondo le sue idee ed il suo istinto, scegliendo i compagni di incisione fra strumentisti “esploratori” e “curiosi” della materia che suonano. Di elevato livello l’apporto di due musicisti italiani fra i migliori: Achille Succi (magnifico al clarinetto basso) e Paolino Dalla Porta, davvero un contrabbassista di rara completezza capace di un interminabile ma affascinate solo in There’s still dog food left in it. Con loro, fra gli altri, l’energia ad elevato tasso di coinvolgimento del sax di David Binney, pronto a duettare in modo brillante con Succi e con la stessa chitarra di Samo. Ela’s Dream è un disco davvero “pieno” nel senso più puro del termine, ma non come un tacchino imbottito di qualcosa di cui avrai presto la nausea (scusate il paragone irriverente) ma come un percorso musicale fatto di brani molto lunghi (minimo dieci minuti, e per la traccia finale) sufficienti a far venire fuori la natura estremamente aperta delle composizioni e le urgenze espressive del gruppo, efficacemente rappresentate dal bravissimo chitarrista, non esente da influenze rock spesso molto efficaci (Emotional playground).

JAZZREVIEW - Samo Salamon Sextet: Ela's Dream (Glenn Astarita, June 2005, USA):
Slovenian jazz guitarist Samo Salamon conveys maturity beyond his young years on this progressive jazz release.  A live recording featuring well-known American saxophonist David Binney to round out the three-horn attack, the guitarist surfaces as a confident leader who possesses mega-chops and improvisational savvy.  With these five lengthy pieces the band offers a refreshing slant via a concoction of free-jazz, swing, bop and jazz-fusion.  But the overall muse is not simply built upon a cross-polarization of jazz styles.  It’s more about Salamon’s resourceful leadership and rock solid compositions that highlight his band-mates’ technical veracity amid variable flows and memorable choruses.

At times, Salamon puts the pedal to the metal via ascending soloing ventures and climactic phrasings; all supplemented by stinging progressions and cleverly articulated single note flurries.   Otherwise, Binney, saxophonist Achille Succi and trumpeter Kyle Gregory turn in gritty soloing to coincide with the various shifts in tempo and alternating currents.  On “There’s Still Dog Food Left In It,” Paolino Dalla Porta takes an extended bass solo, followed by the hornists’ solemn passages, ultimately evolving into a vibrant medium-tempo swing vamp.  With that, Salamon – a one-time student of guitarist John Scofield – successfully conveys a vibe that teeters on the cutting edge of matters, while offering a set that seldom fails to entertain! 

ALTRISUONI - Ela's Dream (May 2005):

Il chitarrista sloveno Samo Salamon mette assieme un bel casting e si avventura con la giusta faccia tosta in una impresa ben riuscita che lo fa atterrare dalle parti di Ornette Coleman, uno dei miti del jazz moderno. I saxofoni di David Binney e Achille Succi sono perfetti compagni di viaggio per un progetto così impegnativo, così come preziosi collaboratori sono il trombettista Kyle Gregory e il batterista Zlatko Kaucic. Ma in particolar modo chi ricopre un ruolo fondamentale in questi cinque lunghissimi brani è certamente il bravissimo Paolino Della Porta, col suo contrabbasso perfettamente allineato alla strutturazione di questi brani tutti scritti dal giovane chitarrista. L'assenza del pianoforte e il fatto che Salamon si chiami spesso fuori da compiti di accompagnamento, lasciano sulle spalle del bassista tutto il peso della cucitura armonica e dello scorrere delle sezioni dei brani e il suo modo di gestire questi due compiti così impegnativi è davvero esemplare. La registrazione è avvenuta a Ljubljana verso la metà di aprile del 2004 e questo bel Ela's Dream ce la riporta molto fedelmente, con un buon bilanciamento timbrico, utile soprattutto a ben rappresentare i momenti scoppiettanti di energia in cui i fiati ribattono le esposizioni tematiche, con le voci che si rincorrono alla ricerca di nuovi equilibri armonici e timbrici. Un percorso coraggioso e determinato in un territorio quasi sacro del jazz moderno, un chiaro omaggio davvero ben riuscito e maturo ad una figura esemplare come quella di Ornette. Un chitarrista da tenere d'occhio, per le sue scelte sicuramente non banali e per la sua appassionata dedizione ad un progetto certamente al passo coi tempi.

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Samo Salamon Sextet: Ela's Dream (John Kelman, May 2005, USA):
Slovenian guitarist Samo Šalamon’s '03 recording Ornethology was something of an epiphany. From the most unlikely of places, a young artist had emerged, not only possessing a frightening command of his instrument, but also gifted with the kind of maturity and artistic vision that would be remarkable regardless of age or origins. While that disc reflected a relatively newfound interest in the music of Ornette Coleman—it consisted largely of original compositions in the spirit of Coleman—he has also been an incredibly hard-working player, with five different projects going on concurrently, including the ethnic musings of his Ansasa Trio and its ’02 recording, Arabian Picnic. 

Two years later Šalamon hasn’t let up a bit. His new album, the live Ela’s Dream, continues to explore the path set down by Coleman, in particular with his early-‘60s Atlantic recordings. What is becoming clear, however, is that Šalamon is integrating Coleman’s spirit into pieces that, while providing plenty of space for improvisation—Šalamon’s five compositions range from ten to twenty minutes—also demonstrate a stronger disposition to form. 

The odd-metered riff of “Broken Windows” and its circuitous theme reflect a structural idiosyncrasy reminiscent of alto saxophonist David Binney’s writing—and, indeed, Binney can be found as a member of Šalamon’s sextet. Ultimately, however, Šalamon’s form is used as a foundation for a powerful saxophone tradeoff between Binney and Achille Succi—another alto player, who returns from Ornethology and possess a slightly sweeter tone as compared to Binney’s edgier timbre. The two saxophones raise the heat, leading into a fiery guitar/drum duet between Šalamon and Zlatko Kau?i?, another Ornethology alumnus who has been something of a mentor to Šalamon over the past few years. 

That Šalamon bears some resemblance to John Scofield is no surprise; he studied with Scofield, and he adopts a similarly gritty tone. But whereas Scofield is full of grease and blue notes, Šalamon possesses more of a European aesthetic, coupled with a looser sense of freedom and elasticity with time that brings to mind Sonny Sharrock or James “Blood” Ulmer at his more adventurous. 

Šalamon’s playing reflects a barely controlled intensity. Even “Emotional Playground,” which begins as a gentle ballad, ultimately resolves into an odd-metered core, featuring a searching solo from Šalamon that gradually builds in power. Šalamon demonstrates a palpable evolution since Ornethology, now far more capable of shaping an extended solo and giving it form over the long run. 

And Ela’s Dream is but the first in a series of recent collaborations that includes two sessions from a visit to New York—a quintet date with Binney, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Gerald Cleaver; and a quartet date with saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Tom Rainey. Šalamon is aligning himself with all the right players and he’s clearly evolving at a rapid pace. Hopefully these two New York sessions and Ela’s Dream will garner him the attention he rightfully deserves. 

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Samo Salamon Sextet: Ela's Dream (Marc Meyers, April 2005, USA):
"With Ela's Dream, young Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon has made an album that is not only top shelf, it may be important as well. With its variety, movement, and sheer joyous energy, this program presents jazz as a music of almost infinite possibilies. And finally, with four Europeans in the band, Salamon's group swings like mad, making a powerful statement that European jazz musicians are making music that equals, and arguably surpasses, in both creativity and swing, a lot of American jazz. 

Salamon plays guitar with a serrated edge, giving him a sound somewhare between John Scofield, with whom he once studied, and Sonny Sharrock. He adds an almost dizzying energy, and he swings hard. The net effect is what Ornette Coleman might sound like if his primary instrument were guitar instead of alto saxophone. At times, Salamon's writing, with its catchy themes, also bears an Ornette influence. Further, his compositions, with their changing tempos, time signatures, and multiple themes, give the album a nearly epic sweep. 

For example, “Coffee With A Girl” is, in Salamon's words, “in the style of Ornette Coleman.” Indeed it is, and after the bumptious theme and brief intervals of collective improvising, the band launches into a driving, medium-up swing, supporting wonderful solos by the leader and David Binney. Then they riff, and settle into a medium, but no less swinging, tempo, and Succi roars on bass clarinet. 

By contrast, “Broken Windows” starts with a powerful guitar solo, after which the rhythm section plays a pattern in a fast 5/4 groove, and Binney and Succi, this time on alto, engage in fiery exchanges, folding into collective improvising, an alto riff, and a Salamon and Kaucic duet that, with its power and intensity, recalls Trane and Elvin Jones reaching for the stars. Only it's not; it's something new that could only have come from these musicians, in this time. Binney and the rhythm section score again during the middle section of the title tune, which features a long, fine alto solo taken at a rip-roaring, very fast, 4/4 swing tempo. 

It's safe to say that there's never a dull moment on Ela's Dream."


Pick of the week along with GARY BURTON'S Next Generation!!!!!

GOLDMINE MAGAZINE (Joe Milliken, May 2005, USA):

Ela's Dream
Splasc(h) Records CDH 869.2

Slovenian-born jazz guitarist/composer Samo Salamon releases his fourth CD titled Ela's Dream on the Splasc(h) Records label, featuring five original compositions recorded live in Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, in April of 2004.

Following up his critically acclaimed Ornethology  in 2003, Salamon's new sextet, which features Kyle Gregory on trumpet, Dave Binney on alto sax, Achille Succi on alto sax and bass clarinet, Paolino Dalla Porta on bass, and Zlatko Kaucic on drums, absolutely thrives in a live setting, creating pristine melodies, uniquely conceptual solos, odd-metered grooves, and emotional ballads.

The opening "Coffee With A Girl" is a Coltrane-influenced conceptual piece featuring three innovative solos by Salamon, Binney on alto, and Achille on bass clarinet. A ballad titled "Emotional Playground", featuring an odd-metered groove in the middle section, is an emotional piece which (revealed in the liner notes) is dedicated to a past girlfriend.

"There's Still Dog Food Left In It" opens with an amazing bass solo from Dalla Porta, then glides into an innovative trumpet solo by Gregory, before closing with inspired improvisation from all. Then the title track features an energetic drum solo from Kaucic, and the closing track "Broken Windows" creates an outstanding sax duet from Binney and Succi.

Salamon is obviously a talented, creative, and motivated guitarist and composer who is driven and inspired by the masterworks of one Ornette Coleman. His guitar playing is in the vein of one of his mentors John Scofield, yet still he develops his own tone, space and grace. The future is truly bright for wherever Samo decides to venture from here.

ANIMA JAZZ (April 2005, Italy):
"Una stimolante novità sarà poi l'ascolto del SAMO SALAMON SEXTET guidato da questo giovane chitarrista sloveno (Samo Salamon, appunto) che non è più "una valida promessa", ma una solida certezza creativa. Grazie anche ad una validissima ed internazionale formazione (Samo Salamon, chitarra; Kyle Gregory,tromba; Dave Binney, sax alto; Achille Succi, sax alto e clarinetto basso; Paolino Dalla Porta, contrabbasso e Zlatko Kaucic, batteria) potremo ascoltare una grande performance di "Broken Windows" (S.Salamon) tratta dal CD "Ela's Dream", pubblicato dalla "SPLASC(H) Records"."

ANIMA JAZZ (May 2005, Italy):

Album Ela's Dream was album of the month among some nice selection of albums:
DUO KLANG (Sergio Fedele - Roberto Dani)  2.44 % (1) 
SAMO SALAMON SEXTET  43.90 % (18) 

JAZZREVIEW - Samo Salamon Quartet: Ornethology (John Kelman, October 2003, USA)
"Samo Salamon is a young guitarist from Slovenia who may qualify as one of the hardest working musicians around. Since emerging on the scene a mere two years ago, he has recorded three albums with three different groups, and has at least five other projects either on the go or on the horizon. With Ornethology, Salamon pays tribute both to Ornette Coleman and to one of his primary influences, John Scofield. The result is a captivating program of contemporary jazz which, while there is some emphasis on free playing, has a construction and focus which puts it well ahead of other recordings of its kind. 
Think early 90s Blue Note Scofield, with less grease and blues and a more European aesthetic. While Salamon’s compositions borrow liberally from the American tradition, there is a certain Eastern European sensibility. “The Creative Force” starts as a tender ballad which, no sooner is the mood established, moves into a 7/4 section which has the rhythm section developing a very Middle Eastern feel that links this project into one of Salamon’s other bands, the Ansasa Trio. 

The opening track, “A Fake Monk” clearly owes to its namesake, but from a very Scofield-like point of view. “Something Ology” also owes a clear debt to Monk, with its liberal quoting of “Straight, No Chaser”. Other tracks, such as “Where’s the Bill” are more direct homage to the main subject of the recording. Salamon states in his liner notes, in fact, that the idea for the recording came from extensive wood shedding of Coleman’s Atlantic Years box, Beauty is a Rare Thing. One of the lessons Salamon has learned is how to write tunes which seamlessly shift from tight ensemble passages to total free playing, as evidenced by “Alien Child”. 

If Salamon is still developing a voice on guitar, his writing is remarkably developed and mature for his young age. As a guitarist he is certainly capable, but the influences are still worn too much on his sleeve. As a writer however, while the influences are also evident, he has managed to assimilate them with his own life experiences into something that is more distinctive and abstruse. 

Salamon has surrounded himself with as group of exceptional European musicians. While Salamon is still gaining widespread experience, the rest of the group has a collective résumé that includes work with artists as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Enrico Rava, Erik Friedlander, Lee Konitz, Carla Bley and Steve Coleman. Zlatko Kaucic is a Slovenian drummer who deserves wider recognition; like Salamon he has assimilated his own experiences with an obvious love of the American tradition; he clearly understands the meaning of swing, and is a sensitive and erudite player. Italian Achille Succi is confident on both alto saxophone and bass clarinet. His alto solo on the ballad, “Two Poles”, is tender and poignant. Bassist Salvatore Maiore, also from Italy, is a firm anchor with a big, round sound. 

Ornethology is strong evidence that Samo Salamon is a young musician to watch; with a maturity and vision greater than his years, there is little doubt that he is developing into an artist of consequence; the only hope is that he can break free of the barriers of his own country and garner the broader audience he so richly deserves."

JAZZREVIEW - Ansasa Trio: Arabian Picnic (John Kelman, October 2003, USA):
"The Ansasa Trio consists of three young musicians from Slovenia, who combine Afro-Cuban, Balcan, Indian and Arabic music with the improvisational spirit of jazz to create an ethnic fusion that is engaging and completely accessible. Their first recording, Arabian Picnic, shows off the compositional abilities of guitarist Samo Salamon, with plenty of interpretive input from bassist Samo Pecar and percussionist Andrej Hrvatin. While Salamon and Pecar play instruments traditionally associated with jazz, the trio finds its unique niche through the ethnic percussion of Hrvatin, who plays instruments including darbouka, udu drum and bodhran. 

While the track “Ten Camels” doesn’t stray far from Arabic roots, “On a Sunday Afternoon at 3PM” starts as a relaxed ballad before moving into an uptempo samba, the difference being that it is driven rhythmically by udu drum and triangle. 

Supplementing the trio on select tracks is Vasko Atanasovski on soprano sax and flute, Zmago Turica on violin and Nino Mureskic on additional percussion. 

Salamon, a young guitarist who has already studied with artists including John Scofield and Tim Brady, manages to inject jazz harmony into pieces whose influences are strongly ethnic. Pecar shows his funk roots on the aptly-titled “Strange Logic of a Strange Logic” which, with all its twists and turns, still manages to hold together as a conceptual whole. Percussionist Hrvatin, who has studied with Glen Velez as well as Italian and Indian ethnic percussionists, is the find of the group. On instruments as varied as jew’s harp, triangle, cymbals, bendir and kanjira, he propels Salamon’s compositions. 

Just twenty-five, Salamon is working hard to make a name for himself, both as a guitarist and a composer. In just two years, concurrent with completing studies in English and German literature, he has managed to record three albums for his fledgling label, Samo Records. Considering his age and experience, both his writing and playing show a surprising degree of maturity; one wonders where he’ll be five years from now.

Clearly, Salamon and the Ansasa Trio are artists worth watching. Arabian Picnic is a solid debut recording from a group that shows a great deal of potential; while there is a certain innocence, born of youth, in the recording, it displays an intention and focus that is surprising from such young players."

ALLABOUTJAZZ (November 2003, USA):
Samo Salamon Quartet: Ornethology - PUBLISHER'S BONUS PICK OF THE WEEK (11th November - 25th November 2003)

Samo Šalamon

Wide Angles
Michael Brecker

Dave Weckl

The Snake Decides
Evan Parker

JAZZ TIMES - JazzTimes Critics' Picks 2003 (Javier Quiñones, February 2004, USA):

Top 10 CDs 
1. Pablo Ablanedo Alegría (Fresh Sound New Talent) 
2. Tord Gustavsen Trio Changing Places (ECM) 
3. Abdoulaye N'Diaye Taoue (Enja) 
4. Elio Villafranca Incantations (Pimienta)
5. Papo Vázquez Pirates Troubadours Carnival In San Juan (Cubop) 
6. Samo Šalamon Quartet Ornethology (Sazas)
7. Truco & Zaperoko Música Universal (Libertad) 
8. Tino Derado Luminescence (Sunnyside) 
9. Poncho Sánchez Out of Sight (Concord Picante) 
10. Martin Scorsese The Blues (Hip-O) 

1. New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra Grace And Beauty (Delmark) 
2. Stephane Grappelli Grappelli plays Grappelli (Inca Music) 
3. Willie Bobo Bobo's Heat (Blue Note) 


"Il giovane chitarrista sloveno Samo Salamon presenta il suo progetto “Ornethology”, dedicato al grande Ornette Coleman. Tutte composizioni originali per un jazz teso e lirico. Il gruppo, per la prima volta in Italia, si esibiri mercoledi 10 dicembre alle 21.30 allo Spazio Cultura ex Cerit a Pordenone, dopo aver partecipato al Festival Jazz Mitteleuropeo di Roma. L’appuntamento si inserisce nelle proposte di Jazz Cube dedicate alla musica di ispirazione afroamericana. 
Samo Salamon definisce la musica come modern free jazz, la critica specializzata ha osannato il suo disco. Chitarrista e compositore jazz di grandissimo talento, come lo ha definito John Scofield con il quale ha approfondito la sua formazione a New York nel Duemila, inizia il suo percorso musicale studiando chitarra classica a Maribor e chitarra jazz al conservatorio di Klagenfurt. Sempre nel Duemila divide un progetto con il batterista Zlatko Kaucic e suona fra gli altri Kareem Riggins, Fareed Haque, John Hicks, Gianluca Petrella, Achille Succi, Dusan Novakov e Andrea Allione. E’ leader dell’ etno-jazz Ansasa Trio. Con questa formazione pubblica nel 2002 l’album “Arabian Picnic”. Lo stesso anno registra il primo disco del Samo Salamon Trio, “A Dream Come True”, che precede il nuovo lavoro ispirato a Coleman, in compagnia del connazionale Zlatko Kaucic, Salvatore Maiore e Kyle Gregory. 
Zlatko Kaucic e uno dei migliori batteristi europei dell’area jazz e della musica d’ improvvisazione. Nella carriera pie che trentennale ha suonato ovunque nel vecchio e nel nuovo continente e registrato 9 dischi con jazzisti del calibro di Irene Schweitzer, Duško Goykovich, John Lewis, Steve Lacy, Paul McCandless, Kenny Wheeler, Chuck Israels, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava, Gianluigi Trovesi, Chico Freeman e molti altri.
Kyle Gregory ha studiato tromba classica e jazz alla Berklee school of Music e nelle University dell' Indiana e del Nord Colorado conseguendo il Diploma nel 1995 sotto la guida William Adam e David Baker, due fra i pie importanti insegnanti degli Stati Uniti. Per cinque anni ha ricoperto la cattedra di studi jazzistici presso l' University Bradley a Peoria, Illinois. Nel 1990 ha ricevuto dal Governo americano il prestigioso Fullbright Grant per la sua ricerca svolta in Ungheria su Pedagogia musicale e improvvisazione. Ha collaborato con noti artisti jazz e pop fra cui J.J. Johnson, D. Reeves, Bob Mintzer, The Spinners, The Temptations, and Liza Minnelli. Vive a Verona dal 1998. Collabora con affermati musicisti italiani tra i quali Francesco Bearzatti, Salvatore Maiore, Roberto Dani, Simone Guiducci. Dirige la Abbey Town Jazz Orchestra, giovane formazione friulana con la quale si e esibito pie volte nella nostra regione Salvatore Maiore e uno dei pie prestigiosi bassisti italiani, ha ottenuto numerosi riconoscimenti in tutta Europa. La lista dei musicisti con i quali ha suonato comprende il grande Lee Konitz, Enrico Pierannunzi, Billy Cobham, Franco D'Andrea, Butch Morris, Joseph Jarman, Steve Grossman, Cedar Walton, Flavio Boltro, Roberto Gatto, Eliot Zigmund, Gianni Coscia, Gianluigi Trovasi e molti altri."

EJAZZNEWS (October 2003, USA):
"Samo Salamon is a young guitarist from Slovenia who may qualify as one of the hardest working musicians around. Since emerging on the scene a mere two years ago, he has recorded three albums with three different groups, and has at least five other projects either on the go or on the horizon. With Ornethology, Salamon pays tribute both to Ornette Coleman and to one of his primary influences, John Scofield. The result is a captivating program of contemporary jazz which, while there is some emphasis on free playing, has a construction and focus which puts it well ahead of other recordings of its kind.

Think early 90s Blue Note Scofield, with less grease and blues and a more European aesthetic. While Salamon’s compositions borrow liberally from the American tradition, there is a certain Eastern European sensibility. “The Creative Force” starts as a tender ballad which, no sooner is the mood established, moves into a 7/4 section which has the rhythm section developing a very Middle Eastern feel that links this project into one of Salamon’s other bands, the Ansasa Trio.

The opening track, “A Fake Monk” clearly owes to its namesake, but from a very Scofield-like point of view. “Something Ology” also owes a clear debt to Monk, with its liberal quoting of “Straight, No Chaser”. Other tracks, such as “Where’s the Bill” are more direct homage to the main subject of the recording. Salamon states in his liner notes, in fact, that the idea for the recording came from extensive wood shedding of Coleman’s Atlantic Years box, Beauty is a Rare Thing. One of the lessons Salamon has learned is how to write tunes which seamlessly shift from tight ensemble passages to total free playing, as evidenced by “Alien Child”.

If Salamon is still developing a voice on guitar, his writing is remarkably developed and mature for his young age. As a guitarist he is certainly capable, but the influences are still worn too much on his sleeve. As a writer however, while the influences are also evident, he has managed to assimilate them with his own life experiences into something that is more distinctive and abstruse.

Salamon has surrounded himself with as group of exceptional European musicians. While Salamon is still gaining widespread experience, the rest of the group has a collective résumé that includes work with artists as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Enrico Rava, Erik Friedlander, Lee Konitz, Carla Bley and Steve Coleman. Zlatko Kaucic is a Slovenian drummer who deserves wider recognition; like Salamon he has assimilated his own experiences with an obvious love of the American tradition; he clearly understands the meaning of swing, and is a sensitive and erudite player. Italian Achille Succi is confident on both alto saxophone and bass clarinet. His alto solo on the ballad, “Two Poles”, is tender and poignant. Bassist Salvatore Maiore, also from Italy, is a firm anchor with a big, round sound.

Ornethology is strong evidence that Samo Salamon is a young musician to watch; with a maturity and vision greater than his years, there is little doubt that he is developing into an artist of consequence; the only hope is that he can break free of the barriers of his own country and garner the broader audience he so richly deserves."

ALLABOUTJAZZ - Ornette's Slovenian Hands (Javier Quinones, October 2003, USA):
Brandishing an Ibañez AF-200 guitar, which he describes as “a similar model as the AS-200, which John Scofield uses, but with a thicker body,” Samo Šalamon stirs up freeing jazz from Slovenia. 

As one of the most notable emerging careers from that centrally located European country, youthful daring unmasks someone who can play as beautifully and exotic as the flowers of the Kamnik leek, darkened as Hrastovlje’s Danse Macabre fresco, or as picturesque and open as Maribor’s Main Square. Engaging explorations into “ethno jazz” with the Ansasa Trio, or his take on Ornette Coleman in Ornethology, aren’t going to drive audiences in throngs to the Cankarjev dom because, as he puts it, “the jazz situation in Slovenia is not great. The music I make, as well as that of my drummer and mentor Zlatko Kaucic, is too advanced for Slovenians. I don't think the majority is ready. Although I got fantastic national and international reviews, the labels sign mainstream jazz players and easy listening music that is not exciting and moving. In addition, there aren't many musicians that play such style of music in Slovenia. As luck would have it, I have played with guys from Italy who are more advanced.” Šalamon adds that aside from the jazz scene, in Slovenia “music life is not really shiny.” Thus, he has to teach guitar to survive. “You can live off music if you sell out,” the Scofield admirer adds, “if you work with pop bands and stuff like that, but I don't want to do that. I want to play music that I like and not to sell out. I think by being honest and sincere one can still make it. That, at least is what I hope.” 

Ornethology is the result of his Coleman inspired studies and the Slovenian’s tale of discovery reveals the usual pattern of viral dissemination among musicians so thoroughly enhanced –as well as threatened– by today’s technological advances. Šalamon discovered Coleman at 21 “when Zlatko Kaucic, the drummer in the quartet, who played with Steve Lacy for years, introduced me to Ornette, but I wasn't ready then. It was too heavy. Then, last year I got the Complete Atlantic Recordings, which really knocked me out. I transcribed all the themes and some Ornette solos as I'm still transcribing them. This music changed jazz. How true the title The Shape of Jazz to Come is. I really like Ornette's themes, especially his phrasing, which I try to transfer to guitar. The title of the recording, Ornethology, or the scientific study of Ornette Coleman if you may, is a dedication to Ornette's music. Some of his concepts from 40 years ago were used, but integrated with my own ideas and other influences. I think something new was created nonetheless.” 

Furthermore, for the Slovenian, Coleman “is the most melodic player in the history of jazz. I really like his classic quartet. I also like the later trios with Izenson and Moffett and the quartet with Dewey Redman. As for harmolodics, is seen also in this quartet. In it, however, I am the composer of all tunes and its leader, yet I do not have the primary function. We all are on the same level where equality of all instruments is important. That gives us the possibilities of the interplay and higher communication.” 

“Ornethology, or the scientific study of Ornette Coleman... Some of his concepts from 40 years ago were used, but integrated with my own ideas and other influences. I think something new was created nonetheless.” 

In talking about the production itself, as well as the musicians, Šalamon is stereotypically self-critical, albeit effusive in his praises too. “The production of the album could be a lot better, but the personnel here in Slovenia is not used to this kind of music, so it is how it is. I think the most important thing is that the music is great, because then you forget about other factors. The musicians on this project, however, were fantastic. I called up drummer Kaucic, a musical role model, fantastic person, favorite musician of mine, excellent composer and performer, who played with figures ranging from Kenny Wheeler, or Steve Lacy, to Paolo Fresu. Then on the bass is one of the best Italian players Salvatore Maiore, featuring great sound and abilities. It was the right choice. What proved most surprising was the chemistry with the alto sax and bass clarinet player Achille Succi, whose playing I really love. He is one of the most melodic players I have heard and had the ability to play with. We developed a great –almost telepathical– understanding. That’s nice! I think we got the chemistry going in the spirit of Ornette and I hope more people will be able to witness this.” 

On occasion, however, the quartet performs with trombonist Gianluca Petrella. “I think the music gets a different character, since trombone is a different instrument with different abilities. Although I have to say that I prefer the bass clarinet and alto sax combination since it is more versatile, at least with these tunes, which were written for these two instruments. Although it will be interesting to see and to hear this material performed by other players. In the future, we will play with the trumpet player Kyle Gregory and later in 2004 with Ralph Alessi and Chris Speed. It will be exciting to hear some stuff with some new tunes also.” 

Under such social, cultural and musical conditions, I wondered how the audiences react to the quartet’s performances. “The audience,” according to the guitarist, “like the energy of the band. Kaucic is one of the more interesting drummers I've heard. He has his own way of playing. One can really see his experiences with Lacy, Archie Shepp or Wheeler; so the audience really senses that and he attracts many people. It depends where we play, on the festivals that are used to this more avant-garde music, the reactions are great, while in some places this music sounds too heavy. I hope, nonetheless, that we will be able to wake people to see that one can be really creative. All I want to do is to play my own music and maybe present it to a larger audience because it is really interesting. Of course, at this moment it is very hard, since I do everything by myself. It is tough, but I'm working hard.” 

His guitar is equipped with D'addario strings, Chrome 0.11. He aspires to be sponsored, at least by D'addario as “it's really hard to get them here in Slovenia. Some times I play for a couple of months with the same strings, which worsens the sound. I should change them every two weeks or so, but as I said it is hard to get them and they are quite expensive here.” He also features a set up including “a Fender Concert amp, which is similar to a Twin Reverb, but I think that it has a nicer, fuller and thicker sound. I love it! As far as the effects are concerned, I'm not really such a freak. I use mainly some chorus, really changed with the frequencies, some distortion, but not much. I use that from my multi effect Boss GT-5!” 

ALLABOUTJAZZ (Javier Quinones, October 2003, USA):
Ornethology - Samo Šalamon Quartet | SAZAS 

Quick and to the Point: Ornette Coleman and John Scofield ought to be proud… 

"A musical convergence between Ornette Coleman, Slovenia and John Scofield doesn’t figure high in any jazz critic’s list of music to look for. Although not exhaustive, the previous three parameters of understanding, however, do serve as guidelines for Ornethology. Leader Samo Šalamon is also a figure of note in the Ansasa Trio. Following the leader isn’t this release’s game though. The material is autonomously arranged, or freely coordinated if you may. Hence, the need for musicians versed and musically savvy, not only on various jazz forms, but also in their respective scholarly and folk musical training. They shine through on all regards interpreting a highly contemporary repertoire that has swing and blues inevitably embedded in its organized jazz free forms. 

As a guitarist, the Slovenian young player features intensive technique that bodes well for material –mostly of his penmanship– inspired by the study of the Texan’s key Atlantic recordings. Although admittedly predisposed towards Scofield, Šalamon asserts himself through such influence –as well as Coleman’s– coming through on his own, using singular single note, chords, and ideas rendering various jazz undercurrents with resolve, depth and inventiveness. Never indulgent, disciplined and eager, Šalamon is major league material. 

The writing is curiously versatile, although conceptually coherent, even during the briefer pieces peppered through to highlight each player by himself. None lasts even two minutes, all are worthy endeavors. “Jaka The Dog,” begins with percussive/cymbal aquatic splashes, segueing into a woodsier run by Zlatko Kauèiè. Bassist Salvatore Maiore arched the rough and vibrating “Major Salva.” Šalamon plays around with various textures and sci-fi like effects in “Samoel,” while clarinetist and saxophonist Achille Succi floatingly laments his alto on “Achille.” Brevity, however, doesn’t limit the extension of the rest of the material, which varies in texture, nature, tempo shifts, thematic development, as well as duration itself. The quartet keeps matters interesting and moving. 

The sonic personality provided by the partial use of bass clarinet, balanced on the other end with alto sax on other compositions, provides rare harmonic gifts. Evident in the opener, and revealing yet another convergence in its title, it is also a fine soloing medium. “Where’s the Bill,” “Something Ology,” and “Humpty Dumpty” respectively lure the listener with modern jazz, be bop and swing into the freer world of this remarkable quartet. Since the group has also performed the material with Gianluca Petrella performing on trombone, although not represented in the recording, one must wonder how the repertoire responds to such an adaptation. Jazz critics, however, ought to add this one to their “To Do” lists…"

ALLABOUTJAZZ (Javier Quinones, September 2003, USA):

A Slovenian jazz picnic! 
This Slovenian picnic of Eastern European, Central Asian and Middle Eastern musical fares entails drinking jazz wine from Primorje, cutting some black hash from musky and sticky harmonic and melodic blocks, gingerly and excitedly placed on the bowl of a communal water pipe filled with rose and mint water for a refreshing smoke. As the picnic and the day ebb towards twilight, friend, family, foe and even animals share a hearty and meaty jota meal of outstanding grooves as is the one found on “Strange Logic Of A Strange Logic.” 

The worldly funk bass tang from the hash, as well as the aromas of the well-done guitar, rise amidst gold-toothed laughter and mirth as the spiced goat cheese is served on flat breads, precious and pungent kmecka pojedina (farmer’s feast) cooked with fingered percussion, against a strumming background entertaining around an open pit fire… Welcome to Slovenian jazz, Ansasa style. 

Arabian Picnic is a production featuring the reinforced Ansasa Trio with strong-willed jazz proclivities, played mostly in relaxed tempos, with odd and familiar meters, novel rhythmic and percussive facilitations. The melodic enchantment and challenging depth borders into festive human jazz ethnicity, as on “The Judgement Tower.” Therein Vasko Atanasovski burns refreshingly hot on the soprano, while Samo Pe?ar lays on nasty bass funk, with Andrej Hrvatin’s high-leveled drumming bracing all within the elegant and fragrant guitar lines from Šalamon. It is a musical gift of great beauty, as is its opening counterpart, “Leeloo.” 

As refreshing as a dandelion salad, this recording is a fine example of how much jazz there is to hear out there as its future is now, and has been for a while now…"

JAZZLIVE (Josef Pepsch Muska, September 2003, Austria):
"The Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon faces himself on the CD Ornethology quite intensively with the music of Ornette Coleman. Interestingly is Salamon closer to the Coleman music from the 60s than to his later projects with his group Prime Time. The comparison and the influence doesn't happen through cover versions of the compositions of Ornette (Humpty Dumpty is the only Ornette Coleman tune on the CD), on the contrary Salamon tries to catch the fascination of Ornette's music in his own tunes. He suceeds in this brilliantly and although the fact that Ornette's spirit lives, the music is still the one of the Salamon Quartet. Especially worth mentioning, since it is not so common but therefore also more interesting, is the lineup of the group. Bass and drums in interplay with the guitar are not so rare, but if we add a bass clarinet to that, then we get something exceptional. The mix of guitar and bass clarinet lines are beside the passages, where almost the whole group enters into the world of free improvisation, the strongest moments on Ornethology. I would also like to mention that there are for me no weak moments here!"

JAZZLIVE (Josef Pepsch Muska, September 2003, Austria):
"Samo Salamon and his co-musicians are here on a journey into the Arabian space. The Ansasa Trio and the guest musicians show a successful blend of different musical traditions."

JAZZ DIMENSIONS (Carina Prange, September 2003, Germany):
"Ornethology is and album with the Music full of drive, activity, creativty and sometimes even agressiveness - however not forgetting also the quieter moments. The goal of the guitarist Samo Salamon was a transformation of Ornette Coleman's musical concepts - not without reason has the CD such a title.

In this transformation wander the compositions from Salamon to the lands of modern jazz, free improvisation and experiments in the electronic way, however the latter without using complex technical equipment. Ornethology takes the listener into the deeps of the exciting compositions and of the strong sound og the group.

Other members of the group beside Salamon are  Zlatko Kaucic on Drums and Percussion, Achille Succi (a-sax, b-cl) and Salvatore Maiore (b). They all have enormous presence, concentration and self-confidence in playing and experimenting.

In the end this is a rewarding and highly interesting album from Slovenia - in the first line with the strong compositions from Salamon, who is showing to the jazzers from the western Europe, how easily can we integrate eastern european rhythms into the western music. Intersting things will come from this direction."

GOLDMINE MAGAZINE (Joe Milliken , December 2003, USA):
"Slovenian jazz guitarist Samo Salamon's latest titled "Ornethology " is the culmination of both a study and exercise, a realization and development derived from some of the musical ideas and concepts of jazz legend Ornette Coleman. 

Salamon spent an extensive period of time listening to Coleman's complete Atlantic Records recordings, transcribing the entire catalog, and then studying and exploring Ornette's unique concepts from that period and how it would influence his own thinking, and composing. The end result is Ornethology". 

Along with Zlatko Kaucic on drums and percussion, Achille Succi on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, and Salvatore Maiore on bass, Salamon's quartet creates an inventive mix of improvisation with tradition. Samo's compositions show a maturity and understanding far beyond his years! 

Salamon has a unique and distinguishable guitar sound as well, his John Scofield influence apparent, and he creates remarkable phrasing with bass clarinet player Succi. His solos are accurate and articulate, yet soft and intinate when need be. 

Overall "Ornethology" is an energetic, yet disciplined interpretation of Monk-influenced compositions, and still made creative and personal by Salamon. He is a composer and guitarist beyond his years, and a force to be reckoned with."

DER STANDARD (December 2003, Austria):
"The Samo Salamon Ornethology Quartet is a first class jazz ensemble that is playing exciting compositions."

IL GAZZETTINO (December 2003, Italy):

Omaggio a Coleman del Salamon Quartet

L'appuntamento dicembrino di Jazz Cube ha proposto un programma dedicato a Ornette Coleman, tratto dal cd "Ornethology" del giovane chitarrista sloveno Samo Salamon. In particolare la musica e ispirata dal periodo delle incisioni Atlantic del sassofonista texano, quello degli esordi con il quartetto negli anni Sessanta; opere che appartengono alla classicita del jazz e della musica del Novecento e anche se qualche attardato nostalgico continua a considerarle "troppo spinte". Rispetto alla formazione presente sul disco, per le due date di Roma e Pordenone nel gruppo figura il trombettista Kyle Gregory in luogo del sassofonista Achille Succi che affianca il leader e Salvatore Maiore al contrabbasso e Zlatko Kaucic alla batteria. Una formazione transnazionale che testimonia legami tra musicisti destinati ad avere ancora piu slancio con l'imminente ingresso in Europa della repubblica slovena. Molto belli in temi dei brani prevalentemente nel registro acuto, di vaglia il livello di assoli e collettivi sviluppati dentro le strutture e verso il loro superamento. Le lettura della musica colemaniana e fresca e leggera, non deferente o imitativa e ne coglie lo spirito aperto e libertario. Gregory ha ampliato la tavolozza dei suoi colori utilizzando tromba, cornetta e tromba piccola sfoggiando un suono nitido e potente con note prolungate e veementi. Salamon ha preferito arricchire le trame collettive con i suoi interventi riservandosi contenuti spunti solistici nel segno della lezione di John Scofield. Raffinate le punteggiature ritmiche, con prelievi dal vasto catalogo della tradizione afroamericana dal New Orleans al funk, ma non sono mancate deflagrazioni e contrasti un'exploit "all'olandese" delle bacchette di Kaucic su di un posacenere. Il segno di uno squardo divertito sulla presunta seriosita accigliata del free.


RADIO STUDENT - Two Hours (Mario Batelic, March 2006):

Na valovih tega radia smo že ve?krat poro?ali o intenzivnem in plodnem delovanju mariborskega jazzovskega kitarista Sama Šalamona, ki je v nekaj letih objavil kar nekaj odmevnih albumov –kar nekaj posnetih pa jih že ?aka na objavo –, med drugim tudi na tem radiu pohvaljenega lanskoletnega Ela's Dream. Šalamon skoraj vsak album posname z druga?nima zasedbo in konceptom. Tako vam v današnji oddaji, prav na dan Šalamonovega nastopa v abonmaju Cankjarjev jazz z novim kvartetom, v katerem je tudi Michel Godard, strežemo z njegovim v New Yorku s tamkajšnjimi glasbeniki posnetim albumom Two Hours. 

Album je izšel pri španski založbi Fresh Sound Records, natan?neje v njeni seriji New Talents, našemu kitaristu pa družbo delajo tenorski saksofonist Tony Malaby, kontrabasist Mark Helias in bobnar Tom Rainey. Naslov albuma, Two Hours, namiguje na dejstvo, da je bil posnet v pi?lih dveh urah, kar se ne pri glasbi nikakor pozna v smislu, da bi bilo karkoli prehitro narejeno, pozna pa se v spontanosti in spretni glasbeni medigri. 

?e se je na Ela's Dream Šalamon prepustil domišljenim ve?slojnim in aranžersko zapletenim ter predvsem daljšim skladbam, ki so trajale tudi 20 minut, pa Two Hours prinaša deset bolj ali manj enako trajajao?ih skladb. A to ne pomeni, da v njih ni prostora za razigran mnogogovor, ki kljub le štirim inštrumentom ve?krat zazveni kar orkestrsko mogo?no. Skladbe na albumu pa so tako zložene, da na perfiden na?in prehajajo druga v drugo, saj prejšnja komad ve?krat nakazuje idejo, barvo, zvo?no naravnanost kakšnega prihajajo?ega. 

Šalamonov kvartet na prvi posluh zveni neo- ali postbopovsko in to je resda podlaga marsikaterega komada, a je v njih zaznati precejšen premik, tudi prelom s tovrstno godbo. Kar nekaj komadov namre? vsebuje številne aranžerske in godbene invencije, zaradi katerih zazvenijo malone »nepravilno«, seveda v smislu jazzovske pravovernosti. 

Takšen odmik od znanega so glasbeniki dosegli s številnimi alternativnimi pristopi k svojim glasbilom, ki jim omogo?a igranje, posve?eno iskanju pravega zvenenja, zvenskega ujemanja in medsebojnega spogledovanja ter navsezadnje popolnega ujemanja zvo?enja posami?nih inštrumentov med sabo. Mesnati bas Marka Heliasa, živ?ni Malabyjevi napadi, hopenje, in rjovenje, nemirne, predirne, vijugaste kitarske Šalamonove poteze, trd, a v ve? smeri usmerjen bobnarski razmah Toma Raineyja – vse to pripomore k razburkani, invencij polni kon?ni zvo?ni sliki. 

Band je, kot povedano, najve? naredil na definiranju zvenenja. Ta se kaže v celi paleti od ostro našpi?enega do ponekod zgoš?enega, temno-baladnega zvena. Ve?krat tudi slišimo navidezno razhajanje nosilnih melodij, ko si denimo glasbene teme, odigrane isto?asno s kitaro in sakosofonom, ne sledita, ampak zvenita kakor da bi druga za drugo zamujala, se medsebojno nekako spodkopavata, a v bistvu tako ustvarita nenavadno in nadvse u?inkovito ritmi?no in melodijsko igro. 

V tem postopku je kvartet najdlje odšel v skladbi Silence of the Poets, šesti od desetih, ki torej na albumu nastopa kot svojevrstna središ?na skladba, ponazarjajo? prelom s tradicijo, a tudi svojevrstno izhajanje iz nje, njeno poznavanje in upoštevanje, nikakor pa ne golo ?aš?enje. Kvartet nas preseneti tudi s predzadnjim komadom The Lonely Tune, ki zazveni kot kak ?ustven novodobni poklon starim jazzovskim baladam, in se sliši malone kot standard! 

Zaradi takšnih postopkov in premišljene postavitve komadov, ki po?asi gradijo dinamiko ploš?e, se album Two Hours razpira kot mozaik, kjer je vsak kamen?ek, ?etudi majhen in na prvi pogled oziroma posluh pogrešljiv, nujen del?ek celotne slike. Šalamon se z njim vse bolj potrjuje ne le kot radoveden muzi?ist, ki se rad preizkuša v razli?nih slogih, marve? kot izjemno kompetenten glasbenik, ki to?no ve, kaj zahteva od posameznega sloga igranja. In, še pomembneje, ve, kaj - in kam – bo sam dodal k tem slogu. 

VECER (Darinko Kores Jacks, May 2005):
Two pieces were masterfully upgraded by the almost expected home guest, the young electric guitarist Samo Salamon, who otherwise cooperates a lot with Kaucic (also on Salamon's last record Ela's Dream, which was released on Splasch Records). He played so well and with such an interplay with the band that a new recording of this band wouldn't be a surprise. We can hardly wait!

POLET (Jure Potokar, April 2005):

Champions League

Guitarist Samo Salamon is so far more appreciated abroad, where he published his new album Ela's Dream for the label Splasch Records

Let's once again repeat some of the basic data because it seems like the international success of the young Slovenian guitarist is not particularly in the interest for wider public and especially the media. Maybe it were different if we caused scandals, dyed his hair to green and would kiss something of the editors of public media. But unfortunately he does not do this becuase he doesn't have the will or time for it. The 26-year old guitarist from Maribor uses his time in a more useful way for his studies (he is finishing his masters from American Literature) and his guitar practice. Every day. Lately at least five hours each day. When he has a chance he loves to perform, but as you know you can't do this so much in Slovenia. When you play once the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, you are out for at least three years, so that others from the "union list" get a chance. It doesn't even matter if they did something interesting or not. Other "festivals" are even more fun - they demand exclusivity. If you want to perform on them, you are not allowed to play anywhere else in Slovenia!

But Samo Salamon is just bursting from energy and creative ideas. To realize them he is willing to go through anything. Last year he went for instance to New York and recorded at his own expenses two new projects. With excellent, world-recognized and accomplished musicians. The first project features alto saxophonist Dave Binney, trombone player Josh Roseman, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Gerald Cleaver, while the second one features tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Tom Rainey. If these names don't mean anything to you, let me tell you that they belong to the first league of the most creative jazzers of current time.

When these two projects will be released is still a question, but not so unsolveable as you might thing. Samo has opened many doors with his last album Ornethology (2003), which got great critics not only in Slovenia (also in these pages) but also abroad. Especially in the USA, where AllAboutJazz pronounced the record as the album of the week and also was praising it a lot ("Salamon is major league material."). In this way Salamon could also publish his latest album Ela's Dream with the prestigious Italian label Splasch Records.

The release of this record shows in the best possible way with how an important break-through artist we deal with. Samo Salamon has almost exactly a year ago gathered five internationally recognized musicians and has managed to organize a real tour of ten concerts in Slovenia, with the highlight in Cankarjev Dom. This concert was recorded in it was clear in the first moment that we listened to a first-class, juicy jazz on the crossroads between tradition and improvisation, where Salamon despite his youth strongly led the musicians, who were much older and more experienced. The album showed that the CD exceeds all expectations. The Italian label decided to release the music and this happened really quickly.

This isn't a surprise because the record brings music which is greatly composed, sunny and daring, and at moment it almost amazes because of its imaginative concepts, techinally brilliant playing and surprising interplay of all musicians. Salamon, who composed all the music, clearly shows that he still coming out from what excites him in the music of the great Ornette Coleman, but he is more and more obviosuly original. It seems like this time he was especially interested in harmonic possibilities of the expanded band with four soloists and it is really beautiful to hear how effective is the sextet. The sound palette is exceptionally luxurious and although it is clear right away that the alto saxophonist Dave Binney is the greatest and most aggressive musicians on the record, the contribution of others is no way less important since we are dealing with the always first-class alto saxophonist and bass clarinet player Achille Succi and trumpet player Kyle Gregory. A special praise goes to the fantastic rhythm section of bass player Paolino Dalla Porta nad drummer Zlatko Kaucic, who is not only taking care of the rhythm and drive, but is upgrading his basic function all the time with incredible imagination and telephatic harmony. Equally noticable and incredible and also less held back than on his last record is Salamon, who is also on the technical side maturing and developing into an excellent, unique and already now very recognizable guitarist.

Ela's Dream is in all aspects an excellent album, one of those by which I will remember the year 2005 and Samo Salamon can be justly very proud of it. It would also be fair that the Slovenian cultural public would also admit its perfection because by its meaning it equally reaches the international success of most Slovenian artists.

MLADINA (Ico Vidmar, April 2005):

Samo Salamon Sextet: Ela's Dream 

Liner notes in CDs are not just like that. The character of the edition frames them, but generally they are a preparation for the entrance into the musical world, they are instructions for ("correct") listening. If the musician himself is the one who prepares them, then we see so much more the connection of the discursive with auditive. We have to read carefully the words of guitarist Samo Salamon when he is explaining and opening ways to the presented music of his sextet. Something to remember is definitely his honest and full-of-respect thanks to the older and more experienced musicians since after all he was in the band their "boss". The young Maribor player really honestly and maturly shows to the most vital in jazz, this can be breakable but gives surplusses when it comes to musical friendships, productive oppositions and learning through musicianship, especially when it comes to social aspects in music.

The members of the international group are trumpet player Kyle Gregory, alto saxophonist Dave Binney, saxophonist and bass clarinet player Achille Succi, bassist Paolino Dalla Porta and drummer Zlatko Kaucic. We can here just add, like we have for the album Ornethology, that Kaucic is a great teacher to young musicians, but not only that. He is also and open musical pedagogue who invited many talents into openess of forms through his teaching. Salamon is therefore not the first or the last. Album was recorded last year in Cankarjev dom.

It gives a lot, especially much more self-confidence in composing and realization of jazz material. But with something much more important, it gives a guitarist who is slowly gaining a personal sound, "the usual dirty" sound of the jazz guitar is slowly getting rougher, is looking for colors and dynamic nuances, which can be strongly heard in solo parts, but work in a compact way in the role of support and especially group playing. Salamon is becoming a skilled composer, who knows the conventions, history of jazz, which can be a guide to new articulations or just lost spinning in patterns. Ela's Dream represents the first, he can deal with historic material and develop it into his own vision, into an interplay of tension and release in the structure of the music. The music is not simple, but it has a beautiful logical arch, where the soloist can find himself and where also the group can work. Great and obligatory music.

+ + + + 

DELO (Gregor Bauman, April 2005):

Impressions for Every Day

Although he is really young, the home guitarist Samo Salamon has recommendations, which are highly convincing. In good five years he made something virtually impossible. From a beardless young man, who was faithfully following the newest ideas of musical virtuosos, he tried to understand them in the best possible way in an inner understanding, he developed to a recognized musician, composer, who wasn't just satisfied with repeating the gained knowledge, but was trying to upgrade its contents. In this way he distanced himself from many musicians who just play traditional jazz without personal touch. He doesn't deny his respect to the heritage, however he doesn't like standing on one place. He has in this way transcribed concepts, with which Ornette Coleman revolutionized jazz in the end of the 50s and in the beginning of the 60s. The result was the album Ornethology, which gave Samo a wider recognition, new acquaintances and a praisse-worthy quote in AllAboutJazz - Ornette's Slovenian Hands. All this opened the doors for Salamon to the international jazz world, it gave him a chance to work with accomplished musicians and a deal with the Italian label Splasch Records. This combination was also resulted in the last project Ela's Dream, which presents a CD of a concert recorded in Cankarjev dom from april in the last year's tour.

Samo has this time again taken his business very seriously. He collected around himself musicians who somehow understood his vision and have also equally guided him. Individual thought were adapted to the collective, ideas which were being born in the sextet.

The music is therefore full of innovation, amusing and productive improvisation contents: it is especially the result of the flexibility and strong knowledge of the musicians, who can be part of the group play, but can at the same time run into individual experiments. Occasional phrasings still remind to the artefacts of Coleman's heritage, but in them we can see a step forward. Careful listening clearly reveals that Samo is developing his own style, which brings the musicianship to a new level of maturity. The contents are not just the fruits of enthusiasm, but are the result of profound tehnical knowledge and self-confidence. One must just say that he is fresh and daring. The sextet (Samo Salamon - guitar, Dave Binney - alto saxophone, Achille Succi - alto saxophone, bass clarinet, Paolino Dalla Porta - bass, Zlatko Kaucic - drums) works therefore really as a compact unit. In each moment Salamon is aware of his place, although there is freedom in the music. He perfectly manipulates with creative achievements of modern improvising streams, but he is also careful that he does not go off the track from the set coordinates. Discipline in freedom, which Zlatko Kaucic also supports.

We can't miss something else in the epilogue: all tunes on the CD are the result of creative original input, which come from Samo's impressions of everyday life. Each of them is a story for itself, an emotional vignette from his most close surroundings, like the author himself explains in the liner notes. Samo is with this not only showing his open-mindness and vast knowledge, but also a personal maturity since he is most sincerely explaining things (emotions) which he has experienced and are a part of him. Definitely a rare quality on domestic stage!

RADIO STUDENT (Mario Batelic, March 2005):
"Although this radio is increasingly supporting the activities of young slovenian jazz musicians, most of the home labels still don't include these artists in their program. Such musicians therefore have to release their albums on their own or somewhere abroad where the labels are more open to such music.

The guitarist from Maribor, Samo Salamon, has experienced both ways; his previous album Ornethology was self-released in 2003, after great performances and excellent critics from home and foreign referential critics, who have put the album on their lists for the best record of the year, Salamon will release his new album this weeks with the prestigious Italian label Splasch Records.

Salamon has recorded his new album with a sextet, which was featured last year in Ljubljana on Cankarjev jazz. The lineup is beside Salamon, Dave Binney, Achille Succi, Kyle Gregory, Paolino Dalla Porta and Zlatko Kaucic. 

As is usual with jazz musicians, Salamon has many projects beside this one. In december last year he has recorded in New York two albums with two different groups. They should be released next year. The piercing Maribor guitarist collected in both bands experienced and well-known names. The New York Quartet, which recorded the album Two Hours, features players like Tony Malaby, Mark Helias and Tom Rainey, while the quintet features Dave Binney, Josh Roseman, Drew Gress and Gerald Cleaver. Their album will be called Government Cheese. 

That Salamon is really versatile and universal shows also the following information, he will record already this year a new album with a Italian quartet, which features Achille Succi, Paolino Dalla Porta and Roberto Dani." 

VECER (Darinko Kores Jacks, April 2004):
"Samo Salamon, the guitarist from Maribor, has taken his studies of music not within institutions, but has worked individually with some of the best teachers around - his most important teacher and influence is the famous John Scofield. His Ornethology Quartet is also not formed by young players who are striving to achieve the heights of jazz, but is formed by experienced masters with years of playing. In such surroundings it is much easier to develop your music, and although the youngest, Salamon is excellent as the leader of the band, especially with his composition work and playing of the guitar he excels (he showed many excellent solistic parts, including superb control over the fingerboard of his guitar). Solistic mastery was shown also by other members of the group, drummer Zlatko Kaucic and the italian musicians Achille Succi (saxophone) and Paulino Dalla Porta (bass). Speical attention was of course also given to the two USA musicians, with whom the group went to the road on the last couple of days in Slovenia and around. These are the trumpet player Kyle Gregory, living currently in Italy, and saxophone player Dave Binney as a special guest. Solistic parts absolutely didn't sound out of the music, which was one complex unity, but were its organic parts. We heard excellent musicianship with lots of creative improvisation and innovation. Although it was already almost midnight at the end of the concert, we could easily listen to more of such music!"

FINANCE (Gregor Bauman, April 2004):
"There is a birth of new creativity in the home jazz production, which is not part of the already heard, for many boring nad endlessly repeated patterns that we know for decades. Therefor is the freshness with which Samo Salamon excites from last year on really a welcome sound innovation. It is always elastic and daring, on the boundary of pleasure and experiment, and for many non-experts almost an extreme deviation to free jazz. But still it has a really solid foundation, clear compository basis, which is intervened ocassionaly with solistic parts, bound to time and place. I watched two concerts of Samo's sextet - in Skofja Loka (in the great hall Kristalna dvorana) and in Cankarjev dom, so I can easier draw the line. The same program sounded totally different on both venues. It kept its witty character, while with freshness it was discovering fields of sound, which were introduced also by individual improvisation mood of different players.
Samo Salamon's Sextet has introduced to us a totally new chapter. Fluid lines, aware to movings from instrument to instrument, humorous interplay, which was only waiting who will play with it more and give it further to group improvisation. The compositions had the idea of a living entit which is constantly changing. It is hard or almost impossible to talk about advantage lines since the sextet worked on the principle of 6x1 and not the other way around. Especially the melodic bass of Paulino Dalla Porta does not provide just rhythmic background, it cathes the melody, it turns it around and leaves to the hands of Samo Salamon's guitar and the hotn section of Dave Binney (saxophone)-Achille Succi (bass clarinet, alto saxophone)-Kyle Gregory (trumpet). Meanwhile Zlatko Kaucic dresses all this "confusion" into the rhythms of his drums in a defining and calm way. Virtousity, fresh and inspiring! Definitely a musical model which deserves a CD!"

RADIO MARS (Andrej Hrvatin, December 2003):
"Creative jazz of the young guitarist and composer from Maribor - already the third album on the period of three years. The studying of Ornette Coleman created one of the most creative albums in slovenian jazz in recent years. The quality of the album is reached also due to the cooperation with distinguished jazz musicians, among them the italian saxophone and bass clarinet player Achille Succi and slovenian drummer Zlatko Kaucic."

SLOVENIA TIMES (Gregor Bauman, December 2003):
"This record is undoubtedly one of this year’s best from a local artist. It has received very positive international feedback in many significant jazz magazines, such as All About Jazz, Jazz Live, EJ Jazz News etc. Šalamon’s music is based on his study of Ornette Coleman concepts but he has translated these with youthful energy and in his own unique way. On this album he is accompanied by experienced jazz musicians, such as well-known percussionist Zlatko Kaucic and guests from Italy –- Achille Suchi (sax, clarinet) and Salvatoire Maoire. As we have said previously in the ST Ornethology brings us a rich musicianship, witty music, a bit of John Scofield, (who is Samo’s mentor), and music worthy of the name of Ornette Coleman, so it’s no surprise, that John Kelman has commented that: “The result is a captivating program of contemporary jazz which, while there is some emphasis on free playing, has a construction and focus which puts it well ahead of other recordings of its kind.”"

SLOVENIA TIMES (Gregor Bauman, October 2003):

Leader of New Jazz Generation

Finally it happened! Despite a host of jazz celebrities at this year’s Ljubljana jazz festival - such as Jan Garbarek, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Ron Carter - the most promising gig was by a Slovene-Italian Quartet led by young Slovene guitarist, Samo Šalamon. This is his fascinating and emotional story. He’s a believer! And in his own words he lives for his music, for his guitar and jazz. That’s the basic first step to success, even if this is an ‘odd’ notion for jazz music.

Why did you decide to become a jazz musician in a country where jazz struggles to find a place among mass popular culture? 
Well, it’s a challenge and I like it. That’s the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what the masses listen to or play, it’s important what you want to do and to play. And in my case that’s jazz.
In your opinion, can we talk about a new, young jazz generation in Slovenia today?
In a way, yes, but at the same time no. There are many players that belong to my generation, there is the bassist Juki?, a little bit older are the saxophone players Lumpert and Pukl and many other guys who play mostly straight ahead jazz and bebop, which is also good, but I just want to be as creative as possible in finding new ways of playing and composing. Their performances are great, but as far as their composing is concerned, it doesn’t really take any chances.

What’s your opinion of the domestic jazz scene and the number of concerts there are? Is it possible to survive as a jazz musician only?
The domestic jazz scene is bad. When I start a project we can usually have up to a maximum of 10 concerts in Slovenia, if we are lucky. People are just not interested that much in jazz, so the club owners don’t organize jazz concerts, although there are of course some minor exceptions. As far as playing music for a living, it is tough. If you play in pop and rock bands and work as a studio musician it can work, but if you only want to be creative, and only want to play jazz, it is virtually impossible. I have to teach guitar to make a living, but as far as playing music is concerned I just want to do stuff that is creative and interesting to me. That’s what I want.

As most young guitar players have done, I assume that you once sighed over Pat Metheny’s music? And did you discover Ornette Coleman as a result of listening to his record, ‘Song X’?
Oh, yeah. He was basically the transition in my listening from blues to jazz. The first jazz album I heard was ‘The Road To You’ by the Pat Metheny Group, from 1992, which is an amazing live recording! I then started to collect records by Metheny, Scofield and similar players. I also bought, by accident, the CD ‘Song X’, which I thought in the beginning was terrible, because I just didn’t understand the concepts behind it, I didn’t know who Ornette Coleman was, and I just wasn’t ready back then. Now, I think that’s the best record by Metheny. But I didn’t meet Ornette through this record, but through the drummer Zlatko Kaucic, who made me aware of this guy and these concepts, although at that time I also wasn’t ready. I basically discovered Ornette’s concepts by myself, although I knew about him before.

To understand musical concepts by Ornette Coleman is a hard job. How did you clash with them?
Well, my friend David Braun gave me the record set (6 CDs) by Ornette Coleman ‘Beauty Is a Rare Thing, The Complete Atlantic Recording’ with the legendary quartet of Don Cherry, Charlie Haden (or Scott LaFaro) and Billy Higgins (or Ed Blackwell). I just transcribed all the themes from the CDs, and right now I’m still doing it, namely transcribing Ornette’s solos from the CDs, since he is amazing! He is probably one of the most melodic players around, a huge player and musician. Then I studied the themes and the concepts behind it, how he developed the themes and similar things. I used these concepts with some ideas of mine, and some new harmonic approaches in my own tunes.

I can’t overlook the fact, that ‘liner notes’, which follows your last record ‘Ornethology’ is written in English. Do you think that our market is too small and undereducated that you have to break through abroad?
Yes, I don’t think that the Slovenian market is the right place for music like that. I’m aiming abroad, which is really hard since I don’t have a manager, so I have to do everything by myself, organizing concerts, festivals, calling the players and the organizers, sending promotional material and CDs, everything at my own cost. But I hope someday it will pay off! For the latest CD ‘Ornethology’ (Šamo Šalamon Quartet) it paid off. The CD got fantastic reviews from everywhere -- abroad (Germany – Jazz Dimensions, USA – JazzReview, AllAboutJazz, Austria – Jazzlive…) as well as in Slovenia.

You also co-operate with our finest percussionist Zlatko Kaucic. How did the two of you get together?
I met him in February 2001 when he had a workshop in Maribor. I was just one of the players then, I wasn’t ready for anything advanced and even wasn’t ready to accept what he was trying to teach. For the project ‘Ornethology’ I remembered that back then he mentioned to me the name Ornette Coleman, so I just thought I would give him a call about the project. I called him up, he was really nice, he said that he would do it and since then we have been really good friends. He is a fantastic drummer and composer deserving wider recognition and an even greater person. At every a concert with him I learn so much musically and also on a personal level. He is really sincere and has taught me to be what you are and to play what you want to play. I really admire him!

How did it feel to be a part of this year’s Ljubljana jazz festival edition?
It was great. I played before at some minor festivals, but this was the first major festival for me and I think we really kicked ass at it, we played great and I’m really happy about it, we also got great reviews about the concert. I hope to play at it in the future with some other projects and from here to continue to some other major festivals. We also played in October at the Skopje Jazz Festival and in December we play at the Roma Jazz Fest, so things are developing, slowly but surely.

One of the most interesting stories -- one that seems almost like a fairytale -- is the true story of your acquaintance and then co-operation with John Scofield. Can you share it with us?
Yeah, it is an amazing story. In 1997 as a fan of John (Scofield) I made an Internet fan site for him, which was basically the first John Scofield site on the Internet. Through that John and his wife Susan contacted me and I met him for the first time in 1997 or 1998 in Italy, it was fantastic. Ever since then when he is around we meet, I see his concerts (he puts me on the guest list), then we have dinner, exchange compact discs and talk about music and stuff. It is really a dream. He is also one of the most amazing people I have met in my life, and besides that he is brilliant guitarist, for me the best jazz guitar player in the world. He also invited me to visit him, so in December 2000 I visited him and stayed in his house for one month. I had daily lessons with him, he explained stuff to me, we played together, and it was great. I’m still digesting the stuff he explained to me back then. I love this guy!

What are your plans for the future? Have you received any invitations for gigs or festivals outside Slovenia?
Well, there are many ideas, it all depends also on money, since I do everything by myself, but I hope that maybe I will get a manager in the future . That would be great. As far as projects are concerned, I plan to do quite a lot of stuff: one project is with Tarus Mateen on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, which will hopefully be recorded in New York next year sometime - if everything goes to plan. These two guys are probably one of the best rhythm sections in the world (the rhythm section for Greg Osby and Jason Moran). The next project is scheduled for April 2004, a concert in Ljubljana with great players like Chris Speed on reeds, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Zlatko Kaucic on drums and Paulinho Dalla Porta on bass, which will hopefully also be recorded, if all the guys show up and if they will be free. For autumn 2004 I am planning to do a project with Kenny Wheeler and some other stuff. We will see, everything depends on money, so I can’t say anything for certain. There are ideas and compositions, we’ll see…Yeah, and I hope that there will also be some more festivals abroad next year.

"Slovene answer to John Scofield..."

DNEVNIK (Jure Potokar, December 2003):
"Additional quality was brought to the group by the excellent guitar virtuoso Samo Salamon (currently he is making the all over world enthusiastic with his album Ornethology), who richened the music with his typical sound!"

FINANCE (Gregor Bauman, October 2003):
"The record Ornethology of the young Maribor guitarist Samo Salamon is a proof enough that there is a new modern jazz generation growing in our small community, which is finely cruising between improvised artefacts of tradition and blending them into technically recent conceptual directions. However, it would be wrong to assume that these projects deal with some more complicated translating of the jazz legacy, without individual thinking. Therefore we can talk about freshness and wider integration, which shows us totally new sound landscapes as a sign of boldness, virtuosity and general respect towards the material from where the music gets its tale. Samo Salamon has not long ago studied (transcribed!) the legacy of the great Ornette Coleman, which was left behind by this influential free jazz saxophone player while recording for the record company Atlantic (the end of 50s and the beginning of the 60s). Anyone would here say right away that we are dealing with a project of Coleman's arrangements, however this is not the case. Ornethology brings us a collection of music written by Salamon (with the exception of Humpty Dumpty), which is only leaning on the "translated" concepts of Coleman, naturally adapted to the lineup of the band. The improvisation pieces are a sum of healthy thinking, wide education and especially sound sensuality, which sublimely bursts out from the interior of the human and performer. And this exactly gives the album its additional value since all throughout the album we can feel the incredible relationship between respect for the past and the unforceable discoveries of the new. The combination, which can sometimes be superficial, is in this case highly convincing and inspires us with general playability of the band (Samo Salamon - guitar, Zlatko Kaucic - drums, Luigi Mosso on bass and Achille Succi on alto saxophone and bass clarinet), which was shown by the quartet also on the latest Ljubljana jazz festival. At that time we might have been talking about a surprise, but the album tells us already at a brief listening that this is not a coincidence. Rich musicianship, witty music, a bit of John Scofield, who is Samo's role model and mentor, and music worthy of the name Ornette Coleman, is one of the nicest jazz production pearls around, cleary aiming abroad. The home place and community is namely intelectually and in numbers too small for the music of such heights and importance."

POLET - Ornethologist Samo (Jure Potokar, September 2003):

The young guitarist from Maribor is perhaps the nicest surprise of Slovenian music this year!

"Although he is really young has the guitarist from Maribor Samo Salamon (born in 1978) published already three records as a leader, two with a trio (A Dream Come True and Arabian Picnic, both last year). Considering the circumstances this equals a venture, even if we didn't deal with how the records are from the musical point of view. Since I have heard only the latest, I can say for that one that it is one of the nicest surprises of the home production this year. It brings us juicy and witty music, which is an extremely successful mix of jazz improvisation and tradition, without one being below the other. So, we don't have to wonder that Salamon's performance on this years jazz festival was among most pleasing and productive moments of the show.
The record Ornethology is a result of extensive listening of collected recordings of the great Ornette Coleman for the Atlantic Records. Not only listening. The guitarist has transcribed all the tunes (which also equals a venture) and wrote down the concepts, which Coleman played (in the end of the 50s and beginning of the 60s) and with which he strongly influenced jazz. From all this huge amount of work there is not much Coleman's music on the record (only the excellent version of the tune Humpty Dumpty), but there are more ideas, how it should also be. It is more important that Salamon opened in this way the doors to the understanding of some more productive jazz concepts, which serve as a basis for creating very imaginative tunes written by Salamon, which are recognizable enough already at first listening.
This is what makes the record Ornethology so fantastic, although its virtues do not end with this. Equally important is that Salamon has on the guitar a totally recognizable style, which hardly resembles to what we are used to and tired of when listening to jazz guitar. it is true that we can still here John Scofield in Salamon's style, since Salamon studied with him, however his style is already personal and self-confident. This stands especially when he is phrasing with the horn player (perfectly supplementing with the bass clarinet of Achille Succi), or playing solos, which are rarely heard as we would imagine them on a guitar. If we add to this the excellent playing of the whole quartet with the important role of the percussionist Zlatko Kaucic, with whom Salamon was learning years ago, then we get a record that simply convinces!
At the end the most important are after all the excellent compositions of Salamon and inspiring musicianship. That is something that is really not missing on the record Ornethology."

MUSKA (Mario Batelic, August 2003):
"Something totally different is Salamon's new band Ornethology Quartet, whose name already says that it is a dedication and homage to Ornette Coleman. Under the mentorship of Zlatko Kaucic and cooperation of italian musicians, the reed player Achille Succi and bass player Salvatore Maiore, Salamon is more than succesfully dealing with Ornette's "theory and praxis". The music on the album is witty and full of surprising turns. It is never linear, it stick to the ideas of harmolodics and gives each instrument an equal importance. It is interesting that Salamon also gives homage to Monk, but not with a cover version but in his own tune A Fake Monk, which is more than a successful introduction to the album with its groovy rhythm and sharp sounds. There are some group improvisations on the album, however the writer is mainly Salamon, who blends in perfectly with a lot more experienced musicians."

MUSKA (David Braun, August 2003):
"Salamon is a type of a modern musician, his thinking world incorporates all positive guidelines: he thinks eclectically and plays without burdain the music with his individual character, while working more and more internationally and in a integrative way."

MUSKA - Universal guitarist (David Braun, August 2003):
The graduated professor of English and German Samo Salamon, who is currently more than anyone else firmly on the tracks of a musical career, is at the moment at the crossroads: his album Ornethology, which was presented on the jazz festival in Ljubljana and in Jazz Club Satchmo in Maribor, is still fresh.

He says that he plays at least 50 concerts each year with totally different groups: playing in the reggae group Siti Hlapci, Ansasa Trio, which is a perfect blend of etno music from all over the world, and the modern and the latest jazz quartet Ornethology. Samo Salamon was (partly also from financial reasons) forced to work in conceptually different settings, but always also due to his curiosity and wishes to reach new musical heights. Meanwhile the characteristics of his music have also crystallized, which also gives a special character to his music. Salamon is in this way a type of a modern musician, his thinking world incorporates all positive guidelines: he thinks eclectically and plays without burdain the music with his individual character, while working more and more internationally and in a integrative way. In a small country as Slovenia with a relatively small musical culture this is probably the only way how to stand in between two biggest poles: between academic musical culture and commercial pop music. These in between waters are where Salamon's ship currently also is, ahead of him is a long and rich journey, where he will develop and reshape his already distinctive guitar style - if he will only get some attention.
After elementary and secondary music school, where he was learning classical guitar, he began to learn in Trieste with the italian guitarist Andrea Allione, the famous italian jazz guitarist and professor on the jazz conservatorium in Trieste, introduced to Samo by the pioneer of modern drumming in Slovenia, Zlatko Kaucic. Salamon has briefly also studied on the jazz conservatorioum in Klagenfurt, but he had to drop the studies due to financial situation, therefore he began to study music totally by himslef and through private lessons. "I have also found out that I wouldn't have learned on the school, what I was interested in," says Salamon. Samo is this way one of the musicians, whom Zlatko Kaucic helped and sent to the right track, also by showing how to break musical barriers.
In the year 1995, as a big fan of John Scofield, he made the first web page of this American guitarist, which also helped him to get into contact with him. About a year later the young guitarist and the experienced guitarist had met on a concert in Italy, after that Salamon held regular correspondence with Scofield and followed him on all concert in the vicinity. Scofield, who was interested in the development of Samo, being also aware of the circumstances and limitations in Slovenia, invited Samo to his house in New York, where he stayed for weeks to live and learn with the great guitarist. Practicing daily for 8 hours and numerous jam sessions in New York left visible consequences on Samo. "Three weeks with Scofield are more than 4 years on the academy in Graz," says Salamon full of enthusiasm and will to work.

How come that you are interested in jazz?
I never knew how to play rock music really good, which is usually a beginning for the majority of slovenian guitarists. My beginning were in classical blues repertoar, which led me soon to jazz, over Metheny, Scofield, Hall and Montgomery. Beside that I have also followed the modern production, from Bill Frisell to the actual musicians.

What can you tell us about your first album, A Dream Come True?
From the current point of view I think it was released to early -  it was an interesting experience, but I wasn't not yet ready for an album. It's a shame for the money and the hard work, but I take it as a first step at work. As a first serious album I take the album Ornethology, which was just recently released.

What has happened to you in the short time between both albums?
A lot: I met the music of Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Sam Rivers, also John Zorn and Bill Frisell. In this I found my sound world, which doesn't depend only on playing over changes, which most Slovenian musicians do. These were my beginnings - I am convinced that things will develop a lot further. In the year 2000 I haven't even heard of Ornette Coleman, I wasn't ready yet. I didn't hear any melody on the record Song X, where my role model from back then played, Pat Metheny. Nowadays I see this record totally differently: this is Metheny's best album and it would be hard to find a more melodical album. I have spent the last three years transcribing melodies, solos, themes and rhythms of the mentioned musicians (and many others). I wanted to know how the music works, how is it made and why.

How come you started writing your own music beside all this transcribing?
Why should I want to play someone else's music. I think it's natural that a musician writes his own music.

In what a way does a slovenian musician feel the tradition of afroamerican jazz?
Although in a totally different outfit, I think that the improvisation has its roots also in the tradition of European music, not only American. The same as you can find blues roots in Ornette Coleman, you can find the roots of many European jazz musicians in the history of European (classical) music. It is actually now that I realize my affection to Ornette Coleman's music, namely through my own experience with blues, what we talked about before. Maybe here lies the key.

How was the quartet, with whom you recorded Ornethology, formed?
First I wrote the music, I didn't even think about the instruments. Then I chose some slovenian (and also Yugoslavian) jazz musicians, who I respected and who belong to better instrumentalists in Europe. But unfortunately I found out that some of them haven't even heard much about Ornette Coleman (let them remain unnamed). That shocked me, so I asked for advice Zlatko Kaucic, who inspired me already in the year 2000. Zlatko suggested the musicians taht are in the quartet now: I sent them the music, themes recorded on the guitar and I contacted them. We first met in Maribor and played some concerts; and here I'd like to mention the support I got from these excellent and experienced musicians: without any disregard, looking down we conquered the challenge together. We studied the music, rehearsed for two days and played each evening concerts and recorded during the day. At the end were exhausted, but satisfied.

For the project he gave the financial support by himself, not knowing if it will pay back, beside some minor support of the sponsors and no support from the local authorities. This is the moment for Samo Salamon to send his first serious album to the international market, since the Slovenian one is too small for him and for his music. It shouldn't surprise us therefore that he chose the English language for the comments and the titles of his latest album. "I'm happy that I could play at this year's 44th jazz festival in Ljubljana, so on one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe, and also in Maribor as its side event. But I know that with such a band I can make onyl about 5 concerts yearly and no more, since the music is in between the scenes, which are already separated. There is a tour in preparation for the fall, at least in Austria, Croatia and Italy, and if lucky we will also go the jazz festival in Skopje." On the question how will he survive in the future, he says: "Probably with music, but I might also do what I studied if the music won't be enough to pay the bills."

MLADINA (Ico Vidmar, July 2003):
"This album is in more ways an exception in defining and practicing jazz in our country. The biggest one is hidden of course already in the title, bringing with it an inspiration, studious listening, learning and after all also a fight with rules, which are nowadaya being taught to a young musician by the music jazz schools, magazines, media and the mainstream jazz listeners community. Album is a dedication and a thanks to Ornette Coleman, the innovator of modern jazz, maybe even the biggest one after the 2nd World War after Charlie Parker. The second exception is that the venture is done by a jazz guitarist. Samo Salamon from Maribor was not part of that style of guitar playing, which over John Scofield and others influenced all the guitarists and made them sound virtually the same. The turn is that the guitarist is looking for new and expanding his musical horizons. The third is not an exception anymore. Samo's musical mentor was namely Zlatko Kaucic, his coplayer on the album and according to the names of Italian musicians on the album the one who has a lot to do with the quartet. The band contains the reedman Achille Succi and bass player Salvatore Maiore. The result is a jazz album mostly of Salamon's compositions, which at the end come from traditional bebop, thematics, enough complex structure, but among them we also find openings, where the guitar is not caught in a sample, where the co-players breathe more freely, where there are moments of different homophony, how Coleman would also call his group play. Since the album was in self label and Salamon's quartet performed on many jazz festivals, it will contain enough good and partly also witty music. I give a warm welcome to the home ornethology."

MUSKA (Rok Juric, June 2003):
That the jazz scene in Maribor is highly active is no news. If I step already in the beginning of the way and try to find reasons for the Maribor cultural scene in the otherwise poor Maribor situation, I come to a conclusion that there can be no other way. From many situations we know that when people have a tougher life they often reach for something irrational in don't just drink because of our worries but also reach towards art. And other way around, art created in good conditions is usually quite pale. I don't want to be the one who puts artists into poverty, so that they would suffer more, so their work would be more heartfelt and worthy; but still jazz history also teaches us that all big musicians spent at least some time of their lives in poverty. And Maribor was lately quite down. The going down of industry left consequences on many people's lives. One who comes to Maribor only to observe the houses of Glavni trg or smell the spirit of Lent does not notice this. But still, Maribor has become different. From the solid status and cultural grey area, which I have known, it has fallen on its news, but with its head turned upside towards the sky. And who do artists dedicate in their suffering their work if not the sky? Don't we look towards the sky when we feel down? Maribor was on its knees, but has grown artistically. I'll limit myself to musical creativity, although we would find referential artists in every field of modern art. A big role in the jazz revival, which is happening in Maribor since the first half of the 90s, had the alternative events in Pekarna, the opening of the jazz club Satchmo in the formation of Narodni dom with Kibla, and especially musical workshops, unfolding on different locations. These are highly important for the development of young musicians, although one has to wait quite a long time to see the results. But the first crops can already be made in Maribor. Its young jazzers, who are in their 20s and maximum in their early 30s, are showing themselves on many slovenian jazz projects. The vicinity of Graz with its jazz academy has also added to its value, although I stick more to what Charlie Parker once said: "Go to school, learn the notes, learn the instrument, then forget everything and go to the street and play Music." The young Maribor musicians are not just showing on closed lineups from their end, but they are entering more determinately into our conscience. Their selfconfidence is not just showing off, but is based on experience, which many have a lot to show. We should envy them and also many slovenian jazzers, who think their place in the slovenian creative cream is self-explanatory, should envy them.
Samo Salamon is almost a typical representative of the young Maribor jazz scene. This statement has of course its mistake: if we classify Salamon as a classical, orthodox jazzer, what he definitely is not. But when we classify him in the meaning of modern jazz, where the limits to other musical directions are narrow, then he is a jazzer. His musical creativity gets its inspirations in many worlds - classical jazz, improvisation and free, he reaches to the fields of etno and folk music, integrates urban music of jungle, drum'n'bass and fusion. Although he would probably be capable of joining all this different worlds in just one project with his guitar and compository thought, he does not fall under this popular turbo eclecticism. For almost every direction he has his own group. He has already entered visibly with two groups among us: the Ansas Trio and Ornethology Quartet. Ansasa published namely a really pleasant and fresh CD Arabian Picnic, while with the Ornethology Quartet he is presenting himself on the Jazz festival in Ljubljana.
Ansasa Trio, with whom Salamon recorded Arabian Picnic, is beside Salamon's guitar formed by the bassist Samo Pecar and percussionist Andrej Hrvatin. Different musical background, since all three come from different musical experience shows that the music of Ansasa Trio is various, although on Arabain Picnic it's coloured in a more eastern way. A good measure of eastern mellow moods with the irregular rhythms breeze into individual flights of self improvisation, containing more Balcan inspiration in comparison with his CD A Dream Come True (2002), surprisingly little sharp jazz tone indicate that the concept of the trio is towards researching different folk music. And where will the slovenian musician first go when he thinks of etno, if not to Balkan and Middle East? It is also understandable that the Cuban rhythms are also not missing with the Cuban euphoria all over the world. It is also understandable that there are included gypsy and jewish music. All this is then a basis which Ansasa upgrades with improvisations, mostly in the context of etno music and not more radical music like free and post free jazz. That is not even necessary since Salamon is using these forms in the Ornethology Quartet. Ornethology Quartet is a lineup, where the only 25-yera old guitarist manages to get together old cats like Zlatko Kaucic on drums, Achille Succi on bass clarinet and alt saxophone and Salvatore Maiore on bass. The names that he saw on stages in one or the other role are not of that kind that you can buy with money, you need namely much more: ideas that inspire them, everything is needed to reach a synergy at the end. And if cats like Kaucic and Succi leave the iniciative to a younger guy, then this is the best proof of his quality. Already the selected musicians show that this project of Salamon is more jazzy oriented, even more leads us to an orthodox jazz direction the title of the quartet, where we discover Ornette Coleman. Although is Ornette's jazz orthodox only from the time perspective, we can also through his music and especially through Salamon's music follow the strong symbiosis with the new jazz, which is so hard to define. However, Salamon fits with his guitar perfectly into this profile. This one is quite often really fast, but accurate, but it can also be really tenderly dreamy and soft. How similar to John Scofield, with whom Salamon has learned with in the past. After finished music school was Scofield the main mentor of Salamon, beside some courses at schools in Trieste (Andrea Allione) and Klagenfurt (Guido Jeszensky). And beside the street of course. In the street Salamon played with many: from Fareed Haque, Damion Reid, Kruno Levacic, Dejan Pecenko to Vasko Atanasovski, Igor Bezget, Nino Mureskic and many others. A great outcome for his young age, which gains on importance beside the fact that music is not Salamon's main occupation.
That is why it is worth to check out also the Slovenian performance on this year's 44th Ljubljana jazz festival. He came there because of his real freshness and youth, which Salamon is offering although he has older players surrounding him. He is not there because of the intention 'let this guy play, he did a lot for the slovenian jazz', which was too often leading the choice for the slovenian act on the jazz festival.

SKRITE NOTE (David Braun, May 2003):
»The Ornethology Quartet is not only a proof that Salamon is one of the most creative slovenian musicians, but that the Ornethology Quartet is one of the rarest groups in Slovenia, which is opening doors to international jazz.«

SPEKTER (Marko Samec, March 2003):
On Thursday 20.2.2003 was organized a concert of Samo Salamon Ornethology Quartet in the hall of STUK. Already the name of the guitarist Samo Salamon is a synonym for quality, and if we add to this the legendary Zlatko Kaucic and to some nonjazzers unknown Salvatore Maiore on bass and Achille Succi on alt saxophone and bass clarinet, we get two hourse of a top musical pleasure.
The concert was scheduled for 21.00, people were gathering. At the start there were about 40 people, lovers of good music, who would also pay for this concert. Well, there was no charge, but there were more and more people that were drawn to the wild, experimental jazz music. Experimental, but also written in notes. Samo, who began his guitar studying on the music school in Maribor and continued it in bigger and accesible centres of music all over the world, has introduced himself as an efficient scientist of the six strings, who (thanks god) dictates melodies to older, recognized and without doubt top class players. He started with jazz at the age of 19. In the year 2000 he went to New York, where he met and cooperated with, as he calls him, "the master of jazz music and a great teacher" John Scofield, with whom he also learned. Beside that he has many other musical projetcs, in which he is the leading force or just a sideman. With his notes he build, disintegrates and lead to a catarsis of special feelings, for which it is hard to say that they belong to just one wholeness. But, since we heard the concert, we know it's not like that. The wholeness is one and has many sideways.
So, the concert unfolded in nice atmosphere of shady light and thankful audience, which was seated at the tables, sometimes interrupted by the waitress. Samo introduced us already in the beginning with the members of this unusual musical minestrone and has also introduced the tunes, which were mainly his. They also played two tunes by Ornette Coleman that were definitely not fillers, but interesting spicing of the concert and also a dedication to the author from Samo Salamon. About the music I have to tell you that you can regret it that you didn't hear it, therefore be ashamed. Get as soon as possible to their concert or buy their record, which will be published in June 2003. Links?! From my nonexpert point of view that's all, while I'll end this article with a statement by Samo Salamon: "Music is a constant challenge, it is something that satisfies my soul, although I want more everytime I play. It is an obsession.

DNEVNIK (Jure Potokar, June 2003):
"A real pleasant surprise was the performance of the young guitarist Samo Salamon with his Ornethology Quartet, where he promoted his new album and showed that he is turning in one of the most interesting Slovenian jazz musicians. Salamon plays the guitar in his own way, he likes to play unisono with the other soloist (this time with bass clarinet and alto saxophone player Achille Succi), beside that he has many creative ideas in imagination, so that we can expect a lot more from him. This stands also for the quartet, where great playing was offered from the bass player Luigi Mosso and the excellent drummer Zlatko Kaucic."

VECER (Darinko Kores Jacks, June 2003):
"Even more was a surprise the young Maribor guitarist Samo Salamon. His Ornethology Quartet (the name already tells us that it is a hommage to Ornette Coleman, although it alludes to ornithology) with the drummer and some kind of mentor Zlatko Kaucic, the recognized and known saxophone player Achille Succi and bassist Luigi Mosso (in the original lineup plays Salvatore Maiore) have introduced themselves with lively and listenable jazz, spiced up with modern and humorous interplays and parts in between. If we are at jazz and jazz guitar, we already after the first project of Samo Salamon almost definitely say that he is going to grow big."

FINANCE (Gregor Bauman, June 2003):
"If I gather up the festival (Jan Garbarek, Evan Parker, Ron Carter), the best was heard from the home guitarist Samo Salamon and his Ornethology Quartet, which was definitely on eof the highlights of the festival. Samo Salamon is a definite proof that there is a new generation of musicians in Slovenia, who build their music on modern improvisation with all respect to the tradition. Great fusion of young energie in experienced cats, where Zlatko Kaucic functions as a mentor and whose drummers' qualities do not even have to be described. The group played with lots of imagination and creativity, it was enough daring and also enough melodically loose. Humoruos elements have sometimes subtly covered up the highlights, which were transfered from instrument to instrument and in the final phase it was an end a group improvisation in excellence."

DNEVNIK  (September 2002):
"The Ansasa trio is made up of musical "masters" from the Styrian end, these are percussionist Andrej Hrvatin, bass player Samo Pecar and guitarist, main author of the songs and the leader of the band Samo Šalamon. An interview with the latter was introduced on Pop vibracije pages a good year ago, when Arabian Picnic was yet a demo recoding. The most interesting data from the history of Šalamon's guitar study is without a doubt learning with famous american jazz guitarist John Scofield in New York. The guys from Ansasa were at that time intensively searching for the sponsors who would help them record the album and put it on the music shelves. They obviously succeeded. Thank God! Arabian Picnic is composed of very interesting and in respect to author's youth incredibly mature compositions, rather improvised musical mixture of jazz and traditional arabian, balcan, indian and other musical elements. Despite their complexity they astonishingly quickly stay in listener's ear. Very, very likeable!" 

DNEVNIK (May 2002):
»A Dream Come True is a welcome addition to all fans of jazz music. Samo Salamon's own music and compositions are based on the beatiful sound of his guitar, which is played with a lot of feeling, emotions and knowledge.« 

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