226

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Drumfree

Jack Huntley By

Sign in to view read count
Wolfgang Muthspiel: Drumfree Wolfgang Muthspiel is a hypnotically adept guitarist who seems to have a penchant for exploring the percussion-less musical setting. His previous album, Live At The Jazz Standard (Material Records, 2010), was a technically impeccable guitar duo with Mick Goodrick, and in some ways, Drumfree is a natural extension of the ideas investigated on that album. But here there is an added emotional intensity somewhat overlooked before. Joined by saxophonist Andy Sherrer and bassist Larry Grenadier, the trio explores a range of tonal territories, all the while using guitar and bass to furnish the inventive rhythmic embellishments normally assigned to drums. Additionally, the arrangements provide a pleasing spaciousness as the trio slowly builds each tune into a complete musical statement.

It is immediately apparent from the first track, "Ibrahim," that Muthspiel has found a musical kinsman in Sherrer. Not only does each musician use the openness of the setting to expert harmonic effect, but the saxophonist's big, breathy style is the perfect foil for Muthspiel's combination of lean arpeggio chording and harp-like sweeps. Again in the angular sounding "Tribal Games," guitar and saxophone move from mutual support to improvisational challenge, but with the addition of Grenadier's bass adding even more tension-filled solos before giving way to his always able support. "Double Blues" find the trio exploring an expansive blues format, Muthspiel playing an impressive game of stylistic hide-and-seek as he probes post-bop lines before alighting on two or three bars of twangy blues licks, only to then fly off into an exploratory motif that somehow merges perfectly into the accepted blues pattern. It is a rousing etude of technical merit and emotional veracity.

Taken as a whole, Drumfree is remarkably inviting given its musical prowess. Each musician gives the tunes just enough tonal elasticity, without flying off into musical astrophysics. But, most notably, there is a thoroughly impressionistic feel to the album reminiscent of pianist Bill Evans' more intimate recordings—a touch of minor key melancholy here, a benevolent harmonic subtlety there. Wrapping these strands of aptitude and expression together, Muthspiel, Sherrer and Grenadier have released a memorable instrumental album with Drumfree.

Track Listing: Ibrahim; Tribal Games; Sunspot; Double Blues; This Over That; Ralphone; The Palace (To Wena); Looking For Elba; Raumzeit.

Personnel: Wolfgang Muthspiel: guitar; Andy Scherrer: saxophone; Larry Grenadier: bass.

Title: Drumfree | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Material Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Born In An Urban Ruin" CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Two Roads" CD/LP/Track Review Two Roads
by Jim Olin
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Better By Far" CD/LP/Track Review Better By Far
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Amour Cruel" CD/LP/Track Review Amour Cruel
by Peter Jurew
Published: July 29, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.