Wolfgang Muthspiel, Scott Colley, Brian Blade, Dance of the Elders, ECM ****

Every bit as good as the earlier Angular Blues, there's a sense of poise throughout on Wolfgang Muthspiel's latest album with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade. Certainly on Dance of the Elders there is a reflectiveness too from the …

Published: 29 Sep 2023. Updated: 7 months.

Every bit as good as the earlier Angular Blues, there's a sense of poise throughout on Wolfgang Muthspiel's latest album with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade. Certainly on Dance of the Elders there is a reflectiveness too from the outset on the moving 'Invocation' with Colley Dave Holland-like when he solos and a certain weight from Blade as the American digs deep in accompaniment. Recorded after touring in Europe, the US and Japan last year at La Buissonne in France, the album includes studio improvisation, a take on Bach chorale 'O Sacred Head, Now Wounded' (also an inspiration of Paul Simon's 'American Tune'), Muthspiel original 'Cantus Bradus,' Kurt Weill’s 'Liebeslied,' a classic that Muthspiel and fellow guitarist the late Mick Goodrick covered on 2010's Live at the Jazz Standard and Joni Mitchell Hejira evergreen 'Amelia' plus 'Folk Song' - a Muthspiel piece inspired by Keith Jarrett. Muthspiel's debt to classical music shows on 'Prelude to Bach,' a pristine exercise in acoustic control, but contrasts are plenty. And you get a skipping sense of vitality on the title track while the cover of 'Amelia' is a gentle and humane way to end the album. For long term fans of the remarkable Austrian and newcomers alike. Out today. Wolfgang Muthspiel photo: Thomas Radlwimmer/Wikipedia

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Samo Salamon and Martin Speake, Electric Duo ***1/2

Stimulating guitar and saxophone interplay here from Samo Salamon and Martin Speake spanning freebop and avant terrain and keeping an open and challenging mindset throughout. All free-improv recorded in Slovenia back in the summer Speake on 'Naked …

Published: 28 Sep 2023. Updated: 7 months.

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Stimulating guitar and saxophone interplay here from Samo Salamon and Martin Speake spanning freebop and avant terrain and keeping an open and challenging mindset throughout. All free-improv recorded in Slovenia back in the summer Speake on 'Naked Dance' introduces a Barbara Thompson-like mood and is good at developing a mysterious atmosphere. Salamon makes fun up high on 'The Happy Genius' that when joined by Speake enters almost a Prime Time spree-for-all boiled down to just the two of them. A bare bones kind of record given the format but, my, what these two prodigious players can do together laced with a lot of imagination and sheer fire power is remarkable.