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Simon Sammut / Blog

BaSSic Attitude Review

Artist: Simon Sammut Album: BaSSic Attitude Review by Matthew Warnock   When one thinks of a duo record, thoughts of piano and vocals, or guitar and vocals often come to mind.  But, in the modern, technological age that we live in, the duo recording has taken on a whole new meaning, and been given a new lease on live as the music industry moves into the new century.  Bassist Simon Sammut has teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kuzmin for a duo record that sounds as far away from a duo as possible, yet all of the instruments, arrangements and programming on the album were completed by these two musicians.  Floating between jazz, pop, funk and soul, BaSSic Attitude is an engaging record that blends instrumental improvisations with pop and soul grooves and progressions in a way that appeals to fans of all of these genres and beyond.   The tunes range from slow, bump-n-grind ballads such as “Alex’s Groove,” to Latin-inspired medium tempo dance-tracks like “Dos Hijas,” to deeply funky tracks such as “Another Song.”  Though the tracks may feature different grooves and harmonic material, what each track retains is the high level of musicianship brought to the table by both artists.  Sammut’s bass work is solid, both during the melodic and improvisational sections of each tune.  For fans of electric bass, it will be a breath of fresh air to hear the usually low-end bass take a step to the front of the stage and cover the melody, a rarity in modern instrumental music.  For those listeners who don’t play bass, it will be a new and engaging take on the instrumental genre.  Moving the bass from a background role to lead melodic-instrument really adds to the level of interest generated by this record, allowing it to stand out among the crowded instrumental music landscape.   As a player, Sammut is a bassist that possesses impeccable technique, but one that never lets his chops get the best of him.  Tracks such as “Another Song” are good examples of how Sammut uses melodic development rather than sheer technical prowess to build his improvisational material.  Starting off with short, easy to follow lines, the bassist sneaks in moments of technical chops, but never for the sake of showing off, it is always about the music and the melody.  In a lot of instrumental music, the focus is on how many notes and how fast an artist can play.  But, in this case Sammut takes a different musical path, and the results speak for themselves.  He could have easily shredded his way through the solo sections of these tracks, but by choosing to bring a strong focus on melody, Sammut not only showcases his high level of musicianship and musical maturity, but he allows listeners of all backgrounds and tastes to find something to enjoy in his playing.   Kuzmin is also at the top of his game on this album.  Using more chops than his bassist counterpart, the multi-instrumentalist never lets his technique get the best of him.  Instead, he uses his quick lines to generate energy that moves the song forward during an improvisational section.  A great example of this is his solo on the track “Having You By My Side.”  Here, Kuzmin chooses a few key moments to insert double-time ideas, placing them carefully between his more melodic based material, allowing the two to set each other up as the solo builds from start to finish.  This is just one example of Kuzmin’s strong musicianship and ability to choose the right moment for melody and the right moment for chops.   Overall, BaSSic Attitude is a strong release by Sammut, one that will appeal to fans across a wide range of tastes and backgrounds.     Reviewed by Matthew Warnock Rating:  4 Stars (out of 5)

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