371

Dhafer Youssef / Wolfgang Muthspiel: Glow

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Dhafer Youssef / Wolfgang Muthspiel: Glow Although it's a dual-leader album, in which oud player Dhafer Youssef's performance is at least as important as that of guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, one of Glow's chief causes for celebration is Muthspiel's on-form presence. After releasing the shimmeringly beautiful Bright Side (Material Records, 2006)—a little-known masterpiece which may yet take its place alongside such jazz guitar iconographs as Johnny Smith's Moonlight In Vermont (Roulette, 1953, reissued 2004) and Wes Montgomery's Incredible Jazz Guitar (Riverside, 1960)—Muthspiel's project with drummer Brian Blade, Friendly Travelers (Material Records, 2007), was a disappointment, interesting in conception but not entirely convincing in execution.



Glow finds Muthspiel back in immaculate form as both guitarist and producer (significantly, the Blade album was a co-production while the Youssef is solely produced by Muthspiel). The disc reunites the Tunisian oud player and Austrian guitarist after a gap of six years following Muthspiel's playing and composing collaboration on Youssef's Electric Sufi (Enja, 2001). The album, Youssef's breakthrough, was a thrilling, perfectly realized collision of traditional Maghrebi music, European jazz and a lively slab of dirty, visceral rock.



Glow inhabits similar territory, but with a broader, and perhaps deeper, emotional range. In large part this is down to Youssef's singing, which Muthspiel, as producer, has coaxed to new expressive peaks. At times Youssef's voice achieves the ecstatic intensity of the late Pakistani qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, at others it suggests the winsome vulnerability of the late electric troubadour Jeff Buckley. He sounds by turns beatific and scary, caressing and chilling, alternating lustrous tenor passages with tortured, almost weeping, falsetto. It's an extraordinary performance.



Extraordinary, too, is the instrumental content and, again, comparisons with Electric Sufi are pertinent. The earlier album was recorded by a nine-piece, the new one by a quintet. The smaller line-up retains a trumpeter, with Tom Harrell replacing Markus Stockhausen, but makes more of the interaction between Youssef and Muthspiel. Both have an exquisite gift for melody, and an understanding of the power of silence, and both place every note with precision. It's a commonplace to say such and such a musician "makes every note count," but Muthspiel, in particular, really does.



Glow uses electronic wizardry with a lighter touch than its predecessor, though textural post-production continues to be a feature of Muthspiel's work. Alegre Correa replaces drummers Mino Cinelu and Will Calhoun, and works in intimate partnership with the young bassist Matthias Pichler (who debuted so brilliantly on Bright Side).



Some music has the ability to condense time, a smaller proportion stretches it. Glow, its every bar a micro-world of eventful creation, is amongst the latter.

Visit Wolfgang Muthspiel and Dhafer Youssef on the web.

Track Listing: Mon Parfum; Babylon; Sand Dance; Mein Versprechen; Etude; Lamento; Maya; Emmerich; Cosmology; Rhapsodie.

Personnel: Dhafer Youssef: voice, oud; Wolfgang Muthspiel: guitars, violin, programming, Fender Rhodes piano; Tom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Matthias Pichler: bass; Alegre Correa: drums, percussion; Rebekka Bakken: voice (9).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Material Records | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read Neko CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2017
Read Alcanza CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 25, 2017
Read New Life CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017
Read A Social Call CD/LP/Track Review A Social Call
by James Nadal
Published: May 25, 2017
Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Desertion" CD/LP/Track Review Desertion
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Back To Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Back To Your Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Westering Home" CD/LP/Track Review Westering Home
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 02
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 21, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!