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Wolfgang Muthspiel: Bio

Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel first appeared on ECM in 2013 via the album Travel Guide as a member of a cooperative trio with fellow guitarists Ralph Towner and Slava Grigoryan. In 2014, Muthspiel made his ECM leader debut with Driftwood, featuring two top American jazz players: bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Brian Blade. Lyrical, grooving and atmospheric by turns, Driftwood saw Muthspiel exploit the rich sonic qualities of the guitar – electric and acoustic – even as he aimed for a sort of piano-trio ideal in terms of harmonic density and polyphony. He said: "I wanted to feature the liquidity and wide horizon of the guitar while also approaching the contrapuntal possibilities of a piano trio."

Muthspiel studied both classical and jazz guitar at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, subsequently winning national competitions for classical music as well as the International Guitar Competition in Mettman, Germany. Interested in improvisation from an early age, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1986 to study at the New England Conservatory. At the Berklee School of Music in Boston, he met Gary Burton, who invited him to join his quintet. While based in New York from 1995 to 2002, he performed with a diverse array of artists: Trilok Gurtu, Youssou N'Dour, Gary Peacock, Dave Liebman, Peter Erskine and Rebekka Bakken, among others. Muthspiel's current projects include his Friendly Travelers duo with Brian Blade; a quartet featuring pianist Jean-Paul Brodbeck; and a trio with Larry Grenadier and saxophonist Chris Cheek. In addition to his jazz projects, Muthspiel writes for contemporary classical ensembles and has received commissions from the Ensemble for New Music Zurich, Klangforum Wien, Austrian Ministry of Arts, Boston-based Marimolin ensemble and more

1 Wondering  
2 Angular Blues  
3 Huttengriffe  
4 Camino  
5 Ride  
6 Everything I Love  
7 Kanon  
8 Solo Kanon  
9 I'll Remember April  

Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called "a shining light" among today's jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian's fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut. Like Driftwood - the 2014 trio disc that JazzTimes dubbed "cinematic" and "haunting" - Angular Blues finds Muthspiel paired with longtime collaborator Brian Blade on drums; but instead of Larry Grenadier on bass, it's Scott Colley, whose especially earthy sound helps give this trio its own dynamic. Muthspiel alternates between acoustic and electric guitar and, along with his characteristically melodic originals - including such highlights as the bucolic "Hüttengriffe" and pensive "Camino" - he essays the first standards of his ECM tenure ("Everything I Love" and "I'll Remember April"), as well as his first-ever bebop rhythm-changes tune on record ("Ride"). Angular Blues also features a single guitar-only track, "Solo Kanon in 5/4," with Muthspiel's electronic delay imbuing the baroque-like rounds with a hypnotic glow.

Crossover Media Projects with: Wolfgang Muthspiel