May 29, 2024

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CD review: Sameka – Simon Zauels – Introducing Sameka 2022: Video, CD cover

Upcoming Debutalbum from SAMEKA, German jazz-rock band which sets focus on complex rhythms, pulsating riffs and unison lines refined with oriental interjections. All tracks composed by band-leader Simon Zauels who was recently featured in the German bass magazine BASS PROFESSOR talking about his upcoming album and/ oder who has already played on festvials like “Jazzopen” Stuttgart or “Sharq Taronalari” in Uzbekistan, one of the biggest musicfestivals in central asia. Album title: Introducing SAMEKA.

Focus track Amoniti shows the complete profile of the band and composer Simon Zauels. “Amoniti” sounds rocky with influences of jazz.

Actual Proof: The album starts with the first single Actual Proof, a cover by Herbie Hancock, to get the peoples intention before going right into original compositions all written and arranged by the bassplayer and band-leader Simon Zauels.

Sameka: Second single from the Band SAMEKA, presenting the track which is equal to the bands name. It features the oud player Hesham Hamra and is characterized by extreme contrasts, which alternate between quiet, delicate passages and hard riffs.

The ideas for the compositions usually start with a bass line on which I then build and develop everything else, melody, harmony, etc.. Odd-meters, complex rhythms, superimposed melodies and unison lines are the musical focus of the compositions. In addition, there is a lot of improvisation and each musician is featured solo at least twice on the CD.

All pieces are virtually finished composed and notated before I send the sheet music to the musicians. In the band rehearsals that follow, of course, some things are changed and rearranged.

The idea with Hesham Hamra to feature him as a guest came to me to add another color to the music.

SAMEKA is a Jazz-Rock Band from Germany, founded 2019 by Bass Player Simon Zauels. The music which is stylistically composed between jazz-rock, fusion with oriental interjections sets a focus on complex rhythms as well as pulsating riffs and unison lines, but also leaves a lot of room for improvisation. The music is characterized by an interesting combination of electric and acoustic instruments including the variety of Daniel Buch who is playing Bariton-, Sopransaxophon as well as the electric Aerophon. The rhythm section is formed by Antoine Spranger, who is playing the grand piano, Tobias Frohnhöfer on drums, Patrick Baumann on electric guitar and Simon Zauels on electric Bass.

In November 2021 the band received the “Musikfonds Neustart Kultur” scholarship, thanks to which it was possible to record a complete album consisting of original compositions. The release of the debut album “Introducing SAMEKA” would be this March 4, 2022. It will be released on Mons Records and features the Syrian oud player Hesham Hamra.

I highly recommend this album. Rarely have I heard an album in this genre that excels in terms of originality and personal vision in the way this album does. There is deep respect of the tradition yet at the same time a high degree of originality. I am positive that we will be hearing more about Sameka in the future.

Here is what Simon Zauels said in an interview with us about their new album․ What I like about the album is that it has a lot of different elements into it there´s the combination of classical and oriental elements as well as Jazz, Rock and Funk elements. Since those are all my compositions that album represents my musical journey so far.

In addition to that it makes me proud that I finally released my first album as a composer and bandleader.

I think it´s the first time in my career that I´m in charge of the whole band. It is quite challenging and laborious but it pays off. The process and mistakes would teach you a lot. It makes me feel better for the future. Being a leader means responsibility. I´m responsible for the whole band and everyone else involved. If things won´t go smoothly people would blame me.

But I don´t want to complain. I got messages from people telling me after listening to the album, that they are „[…] anxioulsy awaiting the LP […] “ what can I say, of course that really makes me happy and shows that the hard work pays off and also gives me the energy to move on. Which brings me to the fact, that I´m already planning and writing for the second album with SAMEKA.

Moreover, I´m planning to release a solo bass album soon, where I am playing classical pieces by Bach on bass. Stay tuned.

SAMEKA was founded in 2019. I wanted to form my own jazz-rock / jazz-fusion band in which I could play my own compositions. Back in the day, all musicians from the band were still living and studying in Mannheim. So I picked musicians from the music college where I was studying as well. First we just played in a trio formation with Antoine on piano, Tobias on drums and me on bass.

Then later, Antoine told me that he knows a sax and a guitar player who would both fit very well in the band. So we invited them in and since then the lineup has never changed.

Having Tobias and Antoine in the band, coming from a more traditional jazz context, we have two musicians in the band, who are both very versatile on their instruments and already played together in many different formations, which you could hear. With Daniel Buch we found a saxophone player who is playing a variety of instruments. He is mainly playing the baritone saxophone but besides that also the soprano as well as the aerophone. The aerophone could be explained like a synth saxophone, where he could play any digital sound we wish. It´s amazing and it brings so many colors to the music and to the arrangements.

With Patrick Baumann we found an electric guitar player who is coming from a more rock background but also studied jazz which makes him the perfect match for SAMEKA. In addition to the main band members, I asked the Syrian oud player Hesham Hamra with whom I am playing in two different world music bands, to be a guest and be featured in two of the songs on the album. To get the oriental flavor into the music the oud and especially Hesham was my first choice.

1. Actual Proof
2. Amoniti
3. Sameka
4. Oriental Dance
5. The Bog
6. A Dark Horse
7. Turtur


Simon Zauels – Electric Bass, Composition
Daniel Buch – Baritone/Soprano Saxophone, Aerophon
Patrick Baumann – Electric Guitar
Antoine Spranger – Grand Piano
Tobias Frohnhofer – Drums
Hesham Hamra – Oud

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

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