Are you looking for edge or to bask in the winelight? If the latter then look no further. If the former well you might rue the lack of energy on Angular Blues a bit as you zone out after an avalanche of good taste and sophistication.
Austrian guitarist-composer Wolfgang Muthspiel is with double bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade. As regular readers know we think Muthspiel is one of the top 20 living greats among guitarists and there is nothing here on this Tokyo studio recording to dissuade us of that view. Muthspiel uses both acoustic and electric guitars on the record, squeezes in his originals 'Hüttengriffe' and 'Camino' plus includes standards 'Everything I Love' and, introduced to jazz by Woody Herman in the early-1940s covered memorably by Luiz Bonfá in the 50s, Gene De Paul's 'I'll Remember April'. Look too for guitar-only spotlight feature 'Solo Kanon in 5/4'.
Muthspiel possesses some of the finest ears alert to a chord change imaginable and his sound manages to combine both technical skill and interpretative grace. Blade is so patient and quiet beside him while Colley amply shows how he can reconfigure a routine to make it sound fresh. Yes perhaps the trio sound a little too content and pleased with all that is going on here: not much of a quibble though is it? Pick of the tracks is the beautiful 'Camino'. Dive in. SG
Out on 20 March.