ON SALE 8/10!
with Near Northeast
Sunday October 8, 2017
D: 7:00 // S: 8:00 PM
Sam Amidon’s third album for Nonesuch Records, The Following Mountain, is ostensibly his first of self-penned songs. But in his decade-long career as a recording artist, the singer and multi-instrumentalist has always managed to create work that’s utterly original, even when, on previous discs, he was digging through the sounds and stories of traditional American music from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Though he cultivates the appearance of a folk singer with his shaggy hair, flannel shirts, and jeans, Amidon operates more like a freewheeling jazz improviser. He uses traditional material as a point of departure for his own melodic explorations; he reassembles time-worn lyrics into evocative new cut-and-pasted texts. On The Following Mountain, his affinity for the more experimental side of jazz, which he has admired as a fan since he was a teenager, explicitly informs these new pieces, several of which have their roots in an epic jam that Amidon and his long-time collaborator, the multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, organized at a Brooklyn recording studio last spring.
Accepting invitations to that session, much to Amidon’s delight, were the legendary percussionist Milford Graves, acclaimed for his work in the 1960s with free jazz greats Albert Ayler, Sonny Sharrock, and Paul Bley, among others; fellow percussionist Juma Sultan, perhaps best known for accompanying Jimi Hendrix in the studio and on stage at the Woodstock Festival; and the young saxophonist Sam Gendel of the Los Angeles–based meditative jazz collective Inga. A distillation of that jam, sculpted into twelve intense minutes, serves as the culmination of The Following Mountain. Called “April,” the track represents the cacophonous start of the creative journey Amidon began in 2016—a “wander through the imagination,” as he calls it—while also serving as the dramatic final statement on this innovatively assembled album.