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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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RALPH TOWNER /
WOLFGANG MUTHSPIEL /
SLAVA GRIGORYAN

Travel Guide

ECM 372 9508

 

 

1. The Henrysons

2. Father Time

3. Windsong

4. Duende

5. Amarone Trio

6. Travel Guide

7. Die Blaue Stunde

8. Nico und Mithra

9. Tarry

10. Museum of Light

 

Ralph Towner - Classical and 12-string guitars

Wolfgang Muthspiel – Electric guitar, voice

Slava Grigoryan – Classical and baritone guitars

 

For a long time, I have been an admirer of the American group Oregon, of which Ralph Towner has been an essential part for more than 40 years. I mention this because this new CD is similar in many ways to some of Oregon’s recordings: predominantly acoustic and understated as well as thoughtful. Like Oregon, this trio’s are often closer to classical music than jazz, but tghey are still lovely music. to classical

Ralph Towner is joined here by two other guitarists: Wolfgang Muthspiel from Austria and Slava Grigoryan, who was born in Kazakhstan but was brought up in Australia. The three have played together since 2005, and you can feel their empathy as they create contrapuntal lines between them, or one of them does a solo while the other two provide sympathetic accompaniment.

As with most ECM recordings, the sleeve-notes are flimsy, and fail to say which musician is soloing at any one time, or which channel they are on. This is a pity. Nonetheless there is continuous pleasure in hearing three master-guitarists producing music that is intricate but still beautiful. All the tunes are originals, with Towner and Muthspiel contributing five each.

The styles vary from tack to track. The title-track is a bustling piece which evokes the busy aspects of travelling and also its rewards. Some tunes (such as Ralph Towner’s Duende and Tarry) have a Spanish flavour, as if they might have been composed by someone like Joaquin Rodrigo. Wolfgang Muthspiel adds wordless vocals to his own Amarone Trio.

Whatever the mood, this is a splendidly-recorded album full of inspiring music.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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