Salamander is a cerebral assault on the senses and an incredibly impressive debut effort!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
When I first took a look at this release I said, "Can't work, won't translate well." Sometimes being wrong works for me. Brooklyn bassist - composer announces his presence with authority with a most auspicious debut release, Salamander. While with only five compositions, Salamander may take on the quality of an incredibly dynamic E.P. With five compositions served up by two vibraphones and bassists along with organ, drums, percussion and viola this could be considered a textured zen like riff on the less is more approach we hear coming from his contemporaries in Europe.
Sounds like? I am not going to lie...no clue. How about chamber jazz with an ambient funk edge? Wrap your brain around that.
There is a deceptively subtle psychedelic vibe that runs through the opening and closing tunes, "Bulbs" and "Ballad of the Bewildered Herd." The tune "Snake Eats Electric Blanket" is a new classical riff on steroids in approach. Perhaps the most exciting if not intriguing aspect of Salamander is the constant lyrical motion no matter harmonic path chosen. Most writers might dismiss the effort with minimal attention, I almost made the same mistake. Peter Kerlin is a formidable instrumentalist and a composer with unlimited potential. The assembled octet performs like a well oiled machine and adds a vibrant edge to some of the most free thinking improvisational music of the year. A great ride!
Tracks: Bulbs; Snake Eats Electric Blanket; Cenozoan Warp; Wanna Let The Bell Tower Ring; Ballad of the Bewildered Herd.
Personnel: Basses: Peter Kerlin, Taylor Bergren-Chrisman, Brent Cordero; Vibraphones: Sam Sowyrda, Cesare Papetti; Violas: Amy Cimini, Jessica Pavone, Karen Waltuch; Organ/Wurlitzer: Emily Manzo; Drums/Percussion: Mike Pride, Charles Burst.