Samo Šalamon, Arild Andersen, Ra Kalam Bob Moses: Pure And Simple

Set from Slovenian guitarist and friends is mostly restrained but the leader lets rip at least once with some stonking fuzz-infused shredding


In the last 20 years the Slovenian guitarist Samo Šalamon has recorded on over 35 albums alongside such big names as Donny McCaslin, Tim Berne, Julian Argüelles, Dominique Pifarély and John Hollenbeck. These recordings often appeared on Šalamon’s own label Samo Records, as is the case with this trio record. On Pure And Simple, Šalamon has recruited two of the most outstanding musicians in the jazz world.

Following the two searching, iridescent numbers that open the set, Šalamon breaks the spell on The Golden Light Of Evening with some stonking fuzz-infused guitar replete with frenetic shredding. The calming effect of 12-string acoustic guitar – an instrument too rarely heard in jazz – on You Take My Arm mollifies the mood. The Moon Departing After A Night With Us is a masterclass in delicate restraint: Bob Moses’ raindrop-like percussion accompanied by Arild Andersen’s echoey pizzicato bass is eventually joined by Šalamon’s languid chords.

The Andersen-penned Little Song, constantly propelled by Moses’ subtle percussion, successfully fuses the trio in a lyrical mélange, juxtaposing sonorous bass with a limpid guitar that traces a languorous melody. Bob Moses’ Pure And Simple Being is a duet between the drummer and Šalamon again heard on acoustic 12-string guitar, which he weaves amongst Moses’ gentle, babbling brook array of percussion. The closer is a take on Albert Ayler’s Ghosts, with Šalamon’s fuzz guitar offering an effective, meandering alternative to the original saxophone part. Andersen’s bass also traces the famous theme whilst Moses, returning to the conventional kit, deploys a fiery, cymbal-rich backdrop.

Whilst Šalamon executes riveting guitar work throughout, Andersen is equally enthralling and special mention must go to Moses, whose understated drum and percussion contributions deliver a mesmeric quality that unequivocally characterises this extraordinary album.

Tell Yourself; Rooms Of Clouds; The Golden Light Of Evening; You Take My Arm; Something Unusual; The Moon Departing After A Night With Us; Little Song; Pure And Simple Being; Ghosts (55.54)
Šalamon (elg, g); Andersen (b); Moses (d, pc). Maribor, Slovenia & Oslo, June 2021.
Samo Records