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Wolfgang Schalk Quartet: Space Messengers

Space Messengers is not Wolfgang Schalk’s attempt to explore free-song structures, but his quartet often approaches time in a manner that implies pulse instead of hammering a solid tempo. The guitarist plays with warm, languid tone, but peels off quick licks that avoid predictability. Bassist Andy McKee and drummer Ian Froman, who filled out the quartet with pianist Dave Kikoski on Schalk’s 2002 album Rainbows in the Night, act as key elements in the album’s overall success in the way they open up the music while keeping things on solid ground.

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