Simon Sammut, Crossing

by Sylvannia Garutch

Born into a musical family, the son of Maltese orchestra conductor, bassist and composer Joseph Sammut, Simon Sammut has taken his years of exploration and culminated them into a weighted project that takes the listener on a visual journey of art and music. Rather than just an album, Crossing is a project of proportional merit.  A musical score combining a visual presentation of paintings that are connected through a common theme about crossing barriers. Sammut has seamlessly correlated moments in history and touched upon topical subjects, such as migration, mental health, technology, environment, and diversity.

The story begins with “The Tin Soldier’s Last Dance,” a wondrous painting of emotive possibilities.  The steadfast solider remains grounded throughout the entire journey, whether just escaping the toy-box, or in the street after a frightful fall from the window, the theme of bravery is exhibited, despite all odds. Sammut reflects this message with a beautifully composed piece that is introspective yet uplifting in its execution, his bass takes on the role of the melody and is joined by piano for a breathtaking excursion of forays into colors and texturizations of beauty for the solo section.  Drummer Melchior Busuttil, creates a march of the solider to further solidify the journey of the Tin Solider.

Each piece takes the listener on a journey beyond compare, from the introspective “Daruma Doll,” filled with tenderness, to the prophetic “Be the Change,” inspired by Jiddu Krishnamurti’s public talk given on 28th August 1982 at Brockwood Park, England.  The deeper message was that Krishnamurti did not belong to any religious organization, sect or country, nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. He purported that these are the very factors that divide human beings and bring about conflict and war. Sammut reflects the passionate words of Krishnamurti, with a progressive group sound.  Drummer Busuttil once again creates a powerful canvas for Sammut to paint upon, while Tony Sammut creates a swelling synth sound that supports and builds the intensity of the tune, as electric guitarist Jonathan Ellul weaves a masterful solo.

Closing out the journey, “Princes of the Serendip” is a story that became known in the English-speaking world as the source of the word serendipity, coined by Horace Walpole as a result of his recollection of the part of the “silly fairy tale” in which the three princes by “accidents and sagacity” discern the nature of a lost camel.  The group presents a rock infused sound that is frenetic, yet imbued with purpose. The searing lines of guitarist Jonathan Ellul, fused in a tightly linked groove with Simon’s bass is elevated to a level of enlightened intellectual stature.  Each musician clearly connected and creating for the higher good.

A highly recommended listen, but more importantly an added visual journey of a complimented musical score of a higher cognitive state.

Track Listing: The Tin Soldier’s Last Dance; Daruma Doll; Be the Change; Promethean Man; Crossing; Shades of Ember; Bell Ringer; Fifty Something; Frozen Glass; Frontier; When Stone Comes to Life;  Princes of Serendip.

Personnel: Tony Sammut: piano; Mark Attard: piano; Melchior Busuttil: drums, percussion, programming; Marc Galea: classical, electric guitars; Jonathan Ellul: electric guitars; Kris Spiteri: melodica; Kevin Abela: trumpet; Ivan Borg: tenor saxophone; Godfrey Mifsud: baritone saxophone; Jesmond Azzopardi: bass, trombone; Marlene Sammut: voice; Simon Sammut: upright bass, electric basses.

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