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Wolfgang Muthspiel & Brian Blade: Friendly Travelers

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Serendipity is an amazing thing. We wouldn’t have this album but for a chance meeting between the Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and the American drummer Brian Blade at the 2006 Baltic Jazz Festival. The two had worked together before, but had these guys not met up again last year, this art wouldn’t exist, and we would be the poorer for it.

Friendly Travelers is a moody, dense piece of work. It often sounds as though two or three guitars are conversing with the drums, but that’s the trick. Muthspiel used two loop machines and also did a little overdubbing in the studio. He’s got a gorgeous touch-very patient with his constructions-and his guitar is miked so well you can almost hear individual threads of nylon vibrate. Blade is his usually dynamic, restless self, yet he never overwhelms his compatriot.

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