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Jazz - Released March 20, 2020 | ECM

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In 2016 and then again in 2018, for his albums Rising Grace and Where the River Goes, Wolfgang Muthspiel surrounded himself with a five-star cast including pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and bassist Larry Grenadier. It was enough to show those who still doubted the calibre of the Austrian guitarist that he was still able to draw the greats to his side... for his 2020 offering, this worthy heir to Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny trims sail to record with double bass player Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade. As his 2014 Driftwood already showed, this trio is a more powerful sounding board for Muthspiel, who alternates between acoustic and electric guitar. The precision of his phrasing, the melodic perfection of his writing (he signs seven of the nine tunes on the record) and the diversity of styles (be-bop with Ride, experimental on Solo Kanon in 5/4 played with a delay, contemplative on Camino) give birth to a contemporary jazz that is once again demanding formally as well as technically. Angular Blues is also a space of total freedom. And that feeling is even stronger on Everything I Love and I'll Remember April, the two unique standards of the album that the three men imbue from head to toe with a lot of ingenuity. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 5, 2018 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
Bringing together pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, double bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Brian Blade isn’t an easy thing to do. But Wolfgang Muthspiel succeeded in 2016 on his album Rising Grace. A worthy heir to Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny, the Austrian guitarist was wise enough to think of his album as a unified quintet rather than a fleeting all-star album. The style of jazz used in Rising Grace, which is demanding both in its form and its technique, is once again at the heart of Where The River Goes. This new album includes the same names but with Eric Harland on drums, replacing Blade. Muthspiel’s group is impressive: the lyricism is as fine as ever, the cohesion is perfect and the phrasing of the solos is precise. On top of all this the guitarist composes for the rest of the gang too. He gives them freedom and never tries to be the gang leader… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 28, 2016 | ECM

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Jazz - Released May 16, 2014 | ECM

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Jazz - Released March 20, 2020 | ECM

Booklet
After a pair of quintet offerings with Brad Mehldau and Ambrose Akinmusire, Austrian guitarist and composer Wolfgang Muthspiel returns to the trio format he established on ECM with 2014's Driftwood. Whereas the previous outings all featured bassist Larry Grenadier, it is Scott Colley who claims the bass chair here. All three members have worked with one another sufficiently to make Angular Blues sound relaxed, natural, and locked in. Blade and Muthspiel have been working together on-stage and in the studio for quite a while; in addition to Muthspiel's bands, the pair work together in the duo Friendly Travelers. The guitarist and Colley played together often in the '90s, and the bassist and drummer have worked together in the Steel House trio with pianist Edward Simon. The group cut this date in a Tokyo studio after a three-night, six-set run at the city's Cotton Club. The program consists of eight Muthspiel originals and, for the first time on any of his recordings, a pair of jazz standards: "I'll Remember April" and "Everything I Love." In addition, the recording marks another first for the guitarist on ECM, in that he employs an acoustic guitar on the three opening pieces. "Wondering" is introduced by Colley's warm, fluid, wide-toned bass. He both trades and punctuates lines by Muthspiel as Blade dances in five around and through them both. Muthspiel's solo effortlessly moves between shaped, rhythmic chords and single-string playing. Utilizing Latin and post-bop rhythms, the title track is an involved, complex exchange of vamps and chords with syncopated rhythms and a popping bassline with fine solos from Blade and Colley. "Hüttengriffe" is a quietly majestic, emotionally resonant Americana ballad that sounds at home next to Bill Frisell's similarly minted material. With "Camino," Muthspiel's electric guitar makes its entry and remains present on the rest of the date. The guitarist plays solo slowly and impressionistically over the first 80 seconds before Blade's whispering cymbals and gentle tom-tom and snare join him. Colley initially walks the backdrop but asserts single notes and minimal rhythmic runs in support. Muthspiel's solo is elegant, unhurried, and full of harmonic surprises. "Ride" marks the first time the guitarist has ever included bebop rhythm changes on a record and it's a doozy: Fleet, knotty, engaged and almost funky with double-timed breaks by Blade, a tight solo by Colley, and Muthspiel's channeling of Barney Kessel and Billy Bauer. "Kanon in 6/8" is delivered as a tight, punchy exchange of interrogatory statements from the rhythm section as the guitarist cascades 16th and eighth notes in a syncopated solo. "Solo Kanon in 5/4" follows, played by Muthspiel with a delay box to recall the spirit of Bach and Scarlatti. Despite its relaxed feel, Angular Blues offers intense musical sensitivity, keen, active interplay and improvisatory flair. With crystalline production and canny collaboration by three jazz masters, Angular Blues adds not only depth and breadth to Muthspiel's ECM catalog, it's weighty enough to own a chapter in the history book of jazz guitar trios. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 27, 2007 | Material Records

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Contemporary Jazz - Released June 15, 2012 | Material Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Material Records

Lab assistant Igor pointed out a miraculous coordination of random events in that the weather outside was exactly the same as the weather illustrated throughout the cover art of guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel's fine Solo at the exact moment the 2004 recording was being listened to. The image is obviously all-important to the design of this recording, being the only one that appears on a total of six different disc-size display areas. An insert displays the guitarist himself in two photographic settings, amidst a lot of electronic gadgetry and outside in what appears to be worsening weather. The blue skies on the Muthspiel Solo cover, also visible out the small slit of a lab window, were not what attracted Igor to the project. That would have had to have been the first name "Wolfgang" and the possibility that this was a descendent of the same Muthspiel family the assistant had known back in his home village, prior to being run out by, of course, a mob of peasants with torches. Music such as this guitarist makes has a calming effect on Igor, as it could conceivably have on an angry mob, slowly causing a shift between unpleasant and pleasant thoughts. "Tabla Groove" and "My Own" reveal what seems like an Ornette Coleman influence in Muthspiel's lines. The same could be said for the fascinating "Beauty," although that also brings a wide range of jazz guitar influences into direct play. "Tabla Groove" really is a remarkable performance, surely suggesting the thrill of a real tabla accompaniment. In "Django," Muthspiel slows down and funks up a musical style known more for speed, agility, and sentimentality; it is a brave performance, but not all of the percussive clicking attacks are pleasant to the ear. One of the best qualities present throughout -- whether the performances are slow laments, bicycle rides over the flatlands with a "Bird's Eye View," or country-boy reflections suitable for a merry outdoor festival -- is the remarkable palette of guitar language, sometimes unexpected appropriations, dropped, dripped, and slopped hither and yon with the casual bravery of a painter who proved his point a long time ago. The guitarist's tone is clear and sharp in the high register; on the bottom end, "Glow" is lit with the kind of light burbling associated with bassist Eberhard Weber. Elsewhere the guitarist accompanies himself, pinning down his flow of attractive ideas with the sharpness of his full range of technical abilities. © Eugene Chadbourne /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 28, 2016 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 5, 2018 | ECM

Booklet
Bringing together pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, double bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Brian Blade isn’t an easy thing to do. But Wolfgang Muthspiel succeeded in 2016 on his album Rising Grace. A worthy heir to Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny, the Austrian guitarist was wise enough to think of his album as a unified quintet rather than a fleeting all-star album. The style of jazz used in Rising Grace, which is demanding both in its form and its technique, is once again at the heart of Where The River Goes. This new album includes the same names but with Eric Harland on drums, replacing Blade. Muthspiel’s group is impressive: the lyricism is as fine as ever, the cohesion is perfect and the phrasing of the solos is precise. On top of all this the guitarist composes for the rest of the gang too. He gives them freedom and never tries to be the gang leader… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 3, 2006 | Material Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 1, 2008 | Material Records

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Contemporary Jazz - Released March 27, 2015 | Material Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 19, 2010 | Material Records

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Jazz - Released May 1, 2008 | Material Records

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Jazz - Released August 17, 2018 | ECM

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Material Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Material Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Material Records

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Electronic - Released October 1, 2009 | Material Records