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Wolfgang Muthspiel, Scott Colley, Brian Blade – Angular Blues (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Wolfgang Muthspiel, Scott Colley, Brian Blade – Angular Blues (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:49 minutes | 985 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © ECM

Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called “a shining light” among today’s jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian’s fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut.

Like Driftwood the 2014 trio disc that JazzTimes dubbed “cinematic” and “haunting” Angular Blues finds Muthspiel paired with longtime collaborator Brian Blade on drums; but instead of Larry Grenadier on bass, it’s Scott Colley, whose especially earthy sound helps give this trio its own dynamic. Muthspiel alternates between acoustic and electric guitar and, along with his characteristically melodic originals including such highlights as the bucolic “Hüttengriffe” and pensive “Camino” he essays the first standards of his ECM tenure (“Everything I Love” and “I’ll Remember April”), as well as his first-ever bebop rhythm-changes tune on record (“Ride”). Angular Blues also features a single guitar-only track, “Solo Kanon in 5/4,” with Muthspiel’s electronic delay imbuing the baroque-like rounds with a hypnotic glow.

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

1. Wondering (7:20)
2. Angular Blues (5:56)
3. Hüttengriffe (5:15)
4. Camino (7:42)
5. Ride (3:51)
6. Everything I Love (6:53)
7. Kanon in 6/8 (7:42)
8. Solo Kanon in 5/4 (3:34)
9. I’ll Remember April (5:41)

Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar)
Scott Colley (double-bass)
Brian Blade (drums)


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