Wolfgang Muthspiel Quintet – Rising Grace on tour

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The guitarist and composer Wolfgang Muthspiel released his studio album Rising Grace on 28 October 2016, which features equally superb musicians: trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusirepianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier and the drummer Brian Blade, with whom he has collaborated over many years. Nine tracks have been composed by Wolfgang Muthspiel and there is one track, Wolfgang’s Waltz composed by Brad Mehldau.(ECM Records 2515: CD and two LPs)

This month Wolfgang Muthspiel commences a Rising Grace international tour performing with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusirepianist Gwilym Simcock, bassist Scott Colley and the drummer Brian Blade in San Francisco, NewYork, London, Vienna, Innsbruck, Hamburg, Essen and Luxembourg. (See International Concert Diary for ticket purchasing links).

The last time I heard Wolfgang Muthspiel perform in London was in September 2014 in a trio with saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Gwilym Simcock at the Wigmore Hall.

It was a brilliant concert:

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Gwilym Simcock, Wolfgang Muthspiel and Joshua Redman ©Thérèse Wassily Saba

Wolfgang Muthspiel uses both a plectrum and changes over to using his fingers in a more classical approach and the three musicians fit seamlessly together. There were many beautiful and delicate moments between these three musicians, who were listening and responding to each other’s playing. So much so that it is hard to believe that this was the first time that the three had played together, except for the rehearsal the day before. 

Wolfgang Muthspiel trained as a classical guitarist with Leo Witoszynskyj at University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria. He then went to the United States to further his studies and there at New England Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music his focus moved more towards jazz. He was soon given the job of replacing Pat Metheny in Gary Burton’s band. He played in Gary Burton’s band for years and then after that, the list of his musical collaborations continues to be impressive: he plays and has played with so many of the top jazz musicians. Wolfgang Muthspiel eventually moved back to Austria and in recent years has been performing in a trio with the Australian classical guitarist Slava Grigoryan and with Ralph Towner.

Classical Guitar Magazine, December 2014

For more on Rising Grace, visit ECM Records.

© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2017

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