283

Wolfgang Muthspiel / Mick Goodrick: Live at the Jazz Standard

Jack Huntley By

Sign in to view read count
The worry, when two distinctive musicians play in a duo setting, is that one will display a heavy-handedness that brings down the combined feel. The urge to fill in the openness is ever-tempting. Luckily, both Wolfgang Muthspiel and Mick Goodrick are not only talented guitarists, but well-schooled in the art of supporting others musically, while maintaining their own creative voices. Live at the Jazz Standard is a textbook case of how to combine talents in creating a unified musical landscape.

Goodrick's playing is legendary and his teaching influential. His 40-plus-year career has found him partnering with the likes of Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, and John Abercrombie, to name just a few. The younger Muthspiel, a classically trained musician and Austrian native, originally sent a recording to Goodrick in hopes of studying with him. Goodrick assisted Muthspiel's transition, and eventually the two began performing together.

It would be easy, then, for Goodrick's guitar to dominate, but Muthspiel is on equal footing here. This is truly a duo performance as both guitars launch into a give-and-take of support and improvisation that creates a melodic richness throughout.

The album contains a mix of standards and originals, and shifts between more straightforward arrangements and extended explorations. The playing of each artist is precise but fluid and neither loses his melodic edge. Some of these tunes have been played thousands of times and yet each track sounds fresh and innovative.

In addition to the creative arrangements, what stands out is the way the tunes seem to build naturally from the improvisations of each guitarist. That tension adds to the groove instead of overwhelming it.

For a live album, the recording quality is excellent, but also leads to the album's only disappointment. Although billed as a live performance, there is no crowd noise or room vibe. While this is great for the technical quality of the sound, it is a bit of a letdown for the overall feel. It would have been interesting to hear how the crowd reacted to the musical tension these two were creating.

While Live at the Jazz Standard shows both Muthspiel and Goodrick as endlessly creative improvisers and technically brilliant guitarists, it is the combined musical coherence of the duo that really lifts this album up. Establishing an improvisational trust and musical unity is a hard-won combination but Live at the Jazz Standard shows the richness it can create.


Track Listing: Throughout; Introduction to All the Things; All the Things You Are; Liebslied; Minimal; Falling Grace; Zen; R.E.M.; Darn That Dream; Stella By Starlight.

Personnel: Wolfgang Muthspiel: guitar; Mick Goodrick: guitar.

Title: Live At The Jazz Standard | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Material Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Expanding Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Expanding Heart
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Spirits
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Triangulum" CD/LP/Track Review Triangulum
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "From the Nocturnal Chironian" CD/LP/Track Review From the Nocturnal Chironian
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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