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Samo Salamon Nyc Quintet: Government Cheese

The Slovanian guitarist gathers a cast of all-stars from New York’s alternative jazz scene-alto saxophonist Dave Binney, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Gerald Cleaver-for this potent and wide-ranging studio session cut in one day in December 2004. Samo Salamon shows adeptness at clever, contrapuntal writing on “The Bee and the Knee,” which has him exchanging edgy lines with trombonist Roseman. His gentle lyricism comes to the fore on the ballads “The Last Goodbye” and “Her Name,” then he reveals his rockier side on the turbulent “Eat the Monster,” highlighted by some intense exchanges between Roseman and Binney. “It Rains When it Falls” is jointly inspired by African music and Steve Coleman’s meta-rhythmic experiments, while the raucous, odd-metered closer “Up and Down” finds the guitarist teetering perilously close to Sonny Sharrock-style atonality. Not for everyone, but adventurous listeners will be intrigued by their collective daring.

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