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Ken Fowser, Something Blue, Devin Gray and More

Read "Ken Fowser, Something Blue, Devin Gray and More" reviewed by Bob Osborne

A packed show with excellent new releases on Posi-tone from Ken Fowser and Something Blue, a focus on Devin Gray, recent work from Wolfgang Muthspiel plus archive cuts. Playlist Something Blue “Slick" from Maximum Enjoyment (Posi-tone) 00:00 Ken Fowser “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" from Right On Time (Posi-tone) 06:36 Devin Gray “Prospect Park in the Dark" from Dirigo Rataplan (Skirl) 11:18 Nick Mazzarella Trio “Boarding Pass" from This Is Only a Test, Live at the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Where The River Goes

Read "Where The River Goes" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

The inventiveness that Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel displayed on 2016's Rising Grace (ECM) is on display once more on Where The River Goes--again made with an American quartet, this time comprising pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland (who replaces Rising Grace's Brian Blade). Where The River Goes is a less introspective disc than its predecessor, with more in the moment improv between the players. “Descendants" begins somberly with its billowing guitar ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Where The River Goes

Read "Where The River Goes" reviewed by Matt Hooke

A song titled “For Django" would usually feature a hard-swinging gypsy rhythm and rapid-fire guitar lines. Guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel goes in the opposite direction, with a thoughtful mid-tempo piece that places pianist Brad Mehldau and trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire in the starring role more than himself. “For Django," despite being the second track, sets the tone for much of Where the River Goes, Muthspiel's forty-first album. The musicians play off each other like a great soccer team, with ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Where The River Goes

Read "Where The River Goes" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel returns with the same lyrical magic that characterized his previous quintet recording Rising Grace (ECM, 2016). That quintet--with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, pianist Brad Mehldau and bassist Larry Grenadier--is altered only by the substitution of drummer Eric Harland for Brian Blade. Muthspiel begins the title tune unaccompanied on electric guitar, with Mehldau joining in on piano for a brief duet. Akinmusire's playing of the theme cues the rest of the band to join in. As ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Rising Grace

Read "Rising Grace" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel made a big splash early in his career, playing with vibraphonist Gary Burton and recording for PolyGram Records (including 1990's The Promise, produced by Burton). Since founding his own label Material Records in 2000 he has had a somewhat lower profile, although in addition to a number of his projects the label released From A Dream (2009), the stunning debut of the cooperative trio MGT (with fellow guitarists Slava Grigoryan and Ralph Towner). Muthspiel made his ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Driftwood

Read "Wolfgang Muthspiel: Driftwood" reviewed by John Kelman

Since studying at Berklee College of Music and returning to his home in Austria--though not before releasing a number of American-based recordings either on his own or as a member of bands led by people like Gary Burton, Marc Johnson and Patricia Barber--guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel has largely been focusing on his career through Material Records, the label he founded at the turn of the millennium. And while he's released no shortage of fine recordings for the label--including both studio and ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Drumfree

Read "Drumfree" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Drumfree contains some of the most stimulating three-way counterpoint written and played in a long time. All of the compositional credit goes to Wolfgang Muthspiel, the composer; but making it all come alive is Muthspiel, the guitarist, and his chosen partners for this date: saxophonist Andy Scherrer and bassist Larry Grenadier. Muthspiel leads from the front with the warmth and splendor of his authoritative voice. The guitarist is deeply rooted in the harmonic ideas of European music, with phrases fully ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Drumfree

Read "Drumfree" reviewed by Jack Huntley

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 ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel / Mick Goodrick: Live at the Jazz Standard

Read "Live at the Jazz Standard" reviewed by Jack Huntley

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. ...

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Wolfgang Muthspiel / Mick Goodrick: Live at the Jazz Standard

Read "Live at the Jazz Standard" reviewed by John Barron

Guitarists Wolfgang Muthspiel and Mick Goodrick are two like-minded explorers of fretboard possibilities. Goodrick, the elder, has been a renowned performer and educator for over forty years, working with the likes of Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette and Steve Swallow. Muthspiel, Goodrick's former student at Berklee College of Music has performed with Peter Erskine, Paul Motian and Norwegian jazz singer Rebekka Bakken, among others. On Live at the Jazz Standard, an intimate duo recording from 2008, both guitarists generate ...

INTERVIEWS

Mick Goodrick and Wolfgang Muthspiel: Musical Synthesis

Read "Mick Goodrick and Wolfgang Muthspiel: Musical Synthesis" reviewed by Matthew Warnock

When guitarists Wolfgang Muthspiel and Mick Goodrick walked up to the stage on January 30th, 2008, they were not only preparing to record a live album for Muthspiel's Material Records label, they were celebrating a musical and personal relationship that stretches back more than two decades. First meeting at the New England Conservatory, where Muthspiel studied under the Goodrick's tutelage, these two iconic players have continued to work together as duo partners over the years, with 2010's Live at the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Wolfgang Muthspiel / Mick Goodrick: Live at The Jazz Standard

Read "Live at The Jazz Standard" reviewed by John Kelman

Guitar duos can be a dangerous thing. With 12 strings and four hands, there's the potential for serious train wrecks; but if the two players are really listening, there's also potential for inspired greatness. Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie's two albums for ECM--Sargasso Sea (1976) and Five Years Later (1982)--exemplify how two can, indeed, conjoin for a greater whole. So, too, does Live at The Jazz Standard, culled from 2008 performances at the venerable New York City venue, where student ...


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