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Wolfgang Schalk Announces New Album 'Dear Earth' Showcasing A Tribute Track To Arnold Schoenberg

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A guitarist’s guitarist. No matter how frenetic or soothing his playing may become, Schalk always plays with a master improviser’s sense of quest.
—DownBeat Magazine
Wolfgang Schalk
Wolfgang Schalk, the acclaimed LA-based Austrian guitarist/composer, announces his latest album, Dear Earth, a heartfelt dedication to our planet and a testament to the power of artistic expression. Featuring nine original compositions, Dear Earth marks Schalk's ninth album as a leader and follows his critically acclaimed release, ObSession (Frame Up Music, 2019).

With a stellar band featuring the remarkable rhythm section of Grammy Award-winning bassist Carlitos del Puerto and Grammy-nominated drummer Oscar Seaton, with outstanding contributions from Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Andy Langham, Schalk delivers a musical journey that captivates listeners from start to finish.

“This album is a heartfelt tribute to the planet we are all living on together. The tunes are a selection I picked from music I wrote over the last two years, and I'm genuinely excited to bring them to life in collaboration with my favorite musicians and friends. The world is at a strange point, and the piece 'AI (Artistic Ideologies)' is a mantra to the kind of AI our planetary home is screaming for more than ever—Artistic Ideologies. I thank Arnold Schoenberg for inspiring me with the 'Twelve-Tone Blues.' One day, I woke up with the thought of how a 12-tone method melody would sound within the framework of the 12-bar blues form. So, the first thing in the morning, I swiftly wrote a 12-tone row melody and bass line in a mere 10 minutes. Each note is a different chord, starting with the blues-based 1-4 but then veering into unexpected territory. Motivated by sheer curiosity, I was surprised by the result. On the recording, I took three choruses of improvisation. Carlitos DelPuerto remarked, “man, this is like 'Giant Steps.' That made me wonder what Mr. Schoenberg himself would have to say," says Schalk, reflecting on his inspiration.

Schalk's new album showcases his edgy musical conceptions, pushing boundaries and exploring unexpected territories. Inspired by the pioneering work of Arnold Schoenberg, Schalk blends striking music elements in the album's opener, 'Twelve-Tone Blues,' which pays homage to Schoenberg's revolutionary twelve-tone method, infusing it with the 12-bar blues form for a truly unique listening experience. “The sound is a mind thing. The secret is in the touch”, Schalk states.

Schalk's virtuosity on both archtop and classical guitar shines throughout the album, revealing his membership in the elite club of today's most creative voices in jazz. From the lyrical Lovely Days with its crystalline leads to the exhilarating energy of 'Screws Loose' and the blissful title track 'Dear Earth,' the intensity on the recording keeps growing, culminating in the last song of Schalk’s meditative solo piece 'AI (Artistic Ideologies).' Dear Earth is a testament to Schalk's unparalleled talent and innovative spirit.

Wolfgang Schalk's body of work has long been praised by jazz and guitar experts and fans. His talent has caught the ear of numerous music tastemakers. Jazz Podium critic and author Alexander Schmitz speaks to Schalk’s style this way, “The best, the most convincing, intellectually and—to the same degree—emotionally demanding jazz guitarist." DownBeat magazine writes “Schalk demonstrates an admirable versatility... No matter how frenetic or soothing his playing may become, Schalk always plays with a master improviser’s sense of quest.”

With Dear Earth, Schalk delivers a powerful statement that transcends musical boundaries, affirming his status as one of the most innovative musicians of our time.

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Personnel

Album information

Title: Dear Earth | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Frame Up Music


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