John Salmon - Salmon is a Jumpin'

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JOHN SALMON - Salmon is a Jumpin' - John Salmon (Piano) - 034061122425 - Released: November 2010 - Albany 1224

Poached salmon, roasted salmon, salmon cakes, salmon Wellington, whatever your taste, it's all on the menu and served up nicely on this new Albany release.

A versatile pianist and composer, who has toured the world's stages performing classical music and has released a handful of CDs on the Naxos label, John Salmon is also an accomplished jazz musician and composer, this recording providing enough evidence to establish his reputation as a strong and imaginative writer in that genre.

His classical training and background lurk in the shadows behind most of the pieces gathered together on this CD, a striking example of which is "Small Diamond" that starts off like a Bach fugue but then quickly develops into a Jacques Loussier influenced jazz improvisation. Another trademark classical giveaway is the perfect balance of forces between the two hands, with the right melodic hand always leading the way, and the left providing harmonic support. "Purcell's Lament" combines a line from that composer's music with a deeply felt blues delivery and bursts of wild salsa rhythms, with the bluesy lament having the final word. Less successful are a few attempts at rock stylings or dance driven pieces, as in "Imitation Rock" and "Mambo Madness". But when John Salmon sticks to jazz, tinged with elements of blues and/or barrelhouse drive, it works. The title track, "Salmon Is A Jumpin", with its walking bass line and overdubbed second piano part (also played by John Salmon), combines all the best of his skills and settles into an infectious groove that will get you toe-tapping.

The clean and bright Albany recording, done in the Organ Hall of the University of North Carolina, is perfect for this kind of highly articulated music, with each part clearly defined.

Jean-Yves Duperron - January 2011