OUT THERE – SAMO SALAMON
Complete Eric Dolphy for solo guitar. Samo Salamon bravely took on the challenge.
Samo Salamon (6-string guitar, 12-string guitar, mandoline)
as Samo Records 001 in 2022
Something Sweet, Something Tender
Hat And Beard
South Street Exit
Inner Flight I
Straight Up And Down
Strength With Unity
Out To Lunch
In The Blues
Inner Flight II
Eric Dolphy was out there, initially re-evaluating and moving phrases of Charlie Parker to Mars, backward Bird flips, his style instantly recognizable, extravagant or serene, and then more and more his thoughts provocative and/or kind, his harmonic language multi-dimensional. Lest we forget, Dolphy was a composer of beautiful, intriguing compositions during his short prolific career.
Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon has always been a big fan. Salamon has built a reputation as cutting edge guitarist since the early 00’s, collaborating with talented colleagues of his generation as well as with household names as Mark Turner, Bob Moses and Joris Teepe. Finally, during the Covid crisis, Salamon decided to record áll Dolphy compositions, a total of twenty-eight, on guitar, on his own. Impressive!
It naturally speaks for itself that Dolphyology is a double CD. It’s recorded in Salamon’s home in Maribor, Slovenia with one microphone and consists solely of first takes. Speaking for myself, a pleasant way to enjoy it is to digest it in different parts, playing it while occupied with this and that or lingering in the room, picking up interesting new things with repeated listening. Immediately clear, Salamon succeeds in putting his exceptional skills to the service of balanced, varying interpretations of the Dolphy catalogue. Often Salamon focuses on melody and the movements of the pieces, alternating between lovely, mysterious voicing and propulsive single lines. Occasionally he engages in freely improvised leaps into the unknown. Undisturbed sense of time and continues zest carry him safely home on such Dolphy gems as 17 West, Les and Burning Spear.
Lines suggest classical guitar influence, which he shares with masters as Atilla Zoller, and the ‘heavy’ riff of Lotsa Potsa oozes rock. He employs a number of nifty techniques that broaden the scope of several tunes, an alienating, alluring effect. Highlights – several featuring majestic 12-string guitar – are the exquisite Serene, an amazing Hat And Beard and the dark blue and green Straight Up And Down. Harp-like sounds infuse Salamon’s tranquil Red Planet.
Salamon explained to me via social media how he developed his style and how he got the idea of recording Dolphy’s compositions.
“I was born in Maribor, Slovenia. I first learned classical guitar, then slowly switched to blues, rock and metal and then when I was 14 discovered jazz through Pat Metheny, Mike Stern and Ralph Towner, among others. I just fell in love with it and started playing and practicing like crazy, up to five or six hours a day. I’m based in Slovenia but tour all over Europe and had stints of living in New York, playing and recording there.
Dolphy has been one of my main influences for playing lines besides Ornette Coleman. I have always liked his special place in the world of jazz, he was a very unique player. I always listened to his music. Before, I played maybe Serene and Miss Ann, just a couple of tunes. But then during the first Covid lockdown I listened to music more than usual, including Dolphy. Then this idea popped up. I had interviewed Miles Okazaki (Salamon is Dr. Jazz Talks on YouTube) who had made a great solo guitar Monk project. I wanted to do something like this with Dolphy, in my own way. I started transcribing his melodies, writing out lead sheets and improvising on his tunes. That’s how Dolphyology was created. It was recorded within a period of a month, but quite some work was done preceding that period.”