Wolfgang_solo_span3
April 2005

Wolfgang Muthspiel
Solo
Material Records

The thrust of Wolfgang Muthspiel's Solo (Material) is clear enough from the title, but one should never expect the obvious from this gifted Austrian. More than an unaccompanied recital, Solo is a multitracked affair involving acoustic and electric guitars and a smattering of fretless bass. In fact, "Glow" features only bass and recalls Jaco Pastorius' mesmerizing work on Bright Size Life. But most of Solo finds Muthspiel on his main ax, taming a fast ostinato on "Tabla Groove," paying homage to Jarrett on the three-part "Keith Suite," downshifting from scattered uptempo lines to a heavenly ballad feel on pianist Aydin Esen's "Beauty" (the only nonoriginal). "Center," "Finally" and "Golden Rings" are strictly solo pieces, sans overdubs-the first two for electric, the third a virtuosic miniature for steel-string acoustic. "Bird's Eye View" and "Waves," two nylon-string cuts, have a jaunty, folk-classical flavor that brings Ralph Towner to mind. "Spiral," an acoustic/electric track in a slow 3/4, references the country-blues dissonance of Bill Frisell and the distinctive lyricism of Joni Mitchell.

Originally published in April 2005
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