Wolfgang Muthspiel: Angular Blues

Mike Jurkovic By

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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Angular Blues
So much of Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel's music materializes before you like Mr. Spock and company on Star Trek. The music beamed in always airy and on the verge of evaporation. But before it does either manifest or vanish it leads you along a slippery slope, through brave structures where only the guitarist knows where the footings are hidden.

Long time collaborator drummer Brian Blade knows the above characteristics well. So he becomes the center of gravity around which Muthspiel goes with or against the unalterable pull on the provocative Angular Blues, Muthspiel's fourth for ECM, following up the widely heralded quintet release, Where The River Goes (ECM, 2018). Dance-animated bassist Scott Colley returns to record with Muthspiel after nearly thirty years and falls right into all the sonic mobilities, echoing, chasing, embroidering his sound to lift and/or ground his wide-ranging cohorts.

Mercurial on both acoustic and electric guitars, the album first three tracks not only highlight Muthspiel's warm, graceful, wooded tone and intimate command, but, with generous space given for Blade and Colley to stretch their inherent dynamic logic, also serve as vivid suggestions of Driftwood (ECM, 2014), his last trio date with Blade and bassist Larry Grenadier. The spacious, spacial "Wondering" finds Colley flashing his finest from the very start, while Muthspiel dances up a flurry of attention grabbing melodics leading seamlessly to the sharp corners and rhythmic get-arounds of the hotly interactive title track.

The delicately folkloric "Huttengriffe" is an intriguing introduction to the pensive, electric flexibility of "Camino" and the energized bebop of "Ride" and Cole Porter's whimsical "Everything I Love." Speaking of excitable, listen to Blade and Colley coax Muthspiel's inner rock guitar god out of hiding on the fiery, jazz-rocking "Kanon in 6/8." It's a real treat, just like the whole.

Track Listing

Wondering; Angular Blues; Hüttengriffe; Camino; Ride; Everything I Love; Kanon in 6/8; Solo Kanon in 5/4; I'll Remember April.


Wolfgang Muthspiel: guitar; Scott Colley: bass; Brian Blade: drums.

Album information

Title: Angular Blues | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: ECM Records

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