Simon Sammut and Omar Vazquez are reviewed by Lemon Wire

Simon Sammut and Omar Vazquez bridge continents to forge new music on “Gravity”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Sammut and Omar Vazquez are bassists who have attempted to do something different with the creation of new music. Their efforts have resulted in the album “Gravity.”

Sammut is from Malta and Vazquez is from Mexico. The pair collaborated with each other and put together ensembles of musicians from their respective countries. The pair met in 2017 and began to work on the project in 2018. “Gravity” is the first album that the two have completed together.

The collaborations between Sammut and Vazquez resulted in eight themes, which are now the songs on “Gravity.” The styles on the album include jazz fusion, funk, Latin and world music. Their effect is sometimes almost hypnotic as the two bassists along with drums, cajon flamenco, keyboards and guitar arrange in various soundscapes. A representative track from the collaboration is “Dystopia.”

About Simon Sammut and Omar Vazquez

Sammut began his bass studies while he was quite young. He learned from his father who had been an established bass player. Eventually Sammut became a skillful player who became popular. He learned to play a variety of styles, including rock ‘n’ roll, funk and jazz. His professional musician opportunities include a stint in the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to playing, Sammut is active as a composer, arranger, producer and music teacher.

In 2011, Sammut produced and released his first album. Titled “BaSSic Attitude.” On it, he collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kuzmin. Six years later, in 2017, Sammut’s second album, “Crossings” showed the bassist’s willingness to work with artists in different mediums. He worked with artist Anthony Catania. Catania’s series of paintings, also called “Crossing” were the inspiration for Sammut’s music.

Vazquez is a professional musician with more than 20 years of experience. His skills were developed in various settings, including jazz festivals, cultural forums and theaters on the interior of the Mexican Republic, as well as in Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Vazquez’s music include collaborations in a variety of music genres. Among the genres Vazquez has performed in are rock, blues, pop, funk, jazz and traditional Mexican music.

Aside from Vazquez’s collaboration with Sammut, he is at work on an album of solo work called “Alternate Dimensions.” The purpose of the album is to promote relaxation and introspection.

“Dystopia” by Simon Sammut and Omar Vazquez

True to its title in some ways, the song opens with the strident buzz of what sounds like an out-of-tune radio. The squelches eventually give way to smoother sounds. However, the slightly buzzy element remains, even as the drums click and pound in a soothing experimental-sounding context. Piano fills the background as the drums pound in a gentle, New Age and jazz mix. The drums keep the soundscape from being “sleepy.” Later in the song, the squelches return, as do lush keyboards. The bass, it seems has been playing a gentle motif that went unnoticed until the other sounds calmed.

“Gravity” is a unique and often beautiful recording whose songs, whether they are supposed to or not, inspire deep thought, and sometimes relaxation.

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