Advertisement
Advertisement

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Angular Blues

In brief:
"His compositions always have a ring of familiarity about them, but unplaceable, as if he were playing a known tune in an unusual way. It’s not a bad gift for a jazz player, which is what he unmistakably is"

Muthspiel was indifferently served by major labels over the years and for a time the guitarist was putting out records on his own Material label. Recognition by ECM was overdue and this delicately beautiful set takes Muthspiel right back to the wonderful trio work he was doing with Marc Johnson and Bobby Battle on Real Book Stories around the millennium.

Colley and Blade are similar musicians, who complement the guitarist but have significant statements of their own to make and the drummer is among the most interesting around at the moment. His qualities of thoughtfulness and an almost spiritual intensity are in evidence throughout the disc.

Advertisement

There’s only one standard this time, a rather tacked-on I’ll Remember April that could easily have been dispensed with, for the writing and playing on the rest of the album is of the highest order. The title tune delivers pretty much what it says, except that it isn’t quite a blues at all, but something that Muthspiel has specialised in down the years, the slightly displaced melody. His compositions always have a ring of familiarity about them, but unplaceable, as if he were playing a known tune in an unusual way. It’s not a bad gift for a jazz player, which is what he unmistakably is.

Electric guitarists find it hard to keep strains of rock out of their work, even if they dial everything down. But Muthspiel has always managed it. His ability to play in awkward time signatures is sometimes counterproductive, but he manages here on Kanon In 6/8 and the following Solo In 5/4 to make them seem as natural and swinging as a basic four.

In some ways, it’s Colley and Blade who make the disc so successful. The bassist’s big singing tone is always lovely and Blade’s quiet accuracy should be studied by all young drummers. As a trio, they’re hard to beat.

Discography
Wondering; Angular Blues; Hüttengriffe; Camino; Ride; Everything I Love; Kanon In 6/8; Solo Kanon In 5/4; I’ll Remember April (62.30)
Muthspiel (elg); Scott Colley (b); Brian Blade (d).
ECM 081 4506

Latest audio reviews

Advertisement

More from this author

Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Sarah Vaughan: Four Classic Albums

Four sturdy Sarah sessions here, originally from different labels and squeezed neatly on to two CDs. The session with Clifford Brown dates from 1954...
Advertisement

Alt. takes 09/19

Been a while. For which, apologies. Health. Family. “Stuff”. Plus a certain amount of what the Catholic Church calls “discernment”, which basically means looking...
Advertisement

Don Joseph, jazz poet /2

Another Greenwich Village venue that Don played was the Nut Club, where Phil Woods held court with Jon Eardley, Teddy Kotick, Nick Stabulas and...
Advertisement

Subversion Through Jazz: The Birth Of British Progressive Jazz In A Cold War Climate

Matt Parker considers whether progressive British jazz of the 1960s had a political effect on society. Its small audience figures say probably not
Advertisement

Syncopation

In the late 1940s the first wave of World War II novels began to appear. The positives were that the authors had actually served...
Advertisement

JJ 06/61: In My Opinion – Kenny Graham

This is one of a series of taped interviews with musicians, who are asked to give a snap opinion on a set of records...