Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, Sat 13 Aug
The Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio has been touring for a couple of months and it certainly shows in the way they play together, and for that matter, apart – as they find themselves coming together and then drifting apart in the improvised tangles and tangents they take us on. As for the ‘menu’, while much was original, the starting point was a jazzed up Joni Mitchell piece, followed by some Muthspiel compositions, some from the collaboration of Ralph Towner, Muthspiel and Slava Grigoryan (and of course, brownie points for including pieces in which the Adelaide Guitar Festival’s director has a hand!).
Another of the points of interest, while Wolfgang Muthspiel is renowned as an electric jazz guitarist, several pieces played featured a beautiful ‘Jim Redgate’ classical guitar, it looked and sounded stunning – great to see local product being so well regarded by top tier musicians!
In contrast to Wolfgang, almost tidy in jeans and t-shirt, a quite dapper Larry Grenadier literally had a workout all over the bass, including a piece of high-intensity bowing with both hands incredibly busy, as well as the most dapper Brian Blade, who as hot as he was on the kit, kept his wardrobe intact (jumper still on at the end of the gig).
There is good reason that Muthspiel enjoys the few months a year that these guys get to play together – he knows that no matter where they all go, it’ll hang together. The rhythm section kept things immaculately, endless variety, gorgeous decoration, continual dance and interplay, mesmerising at times – always plenty happening to keep our interest and big flashing smiles between them as they enjoyed the moment.
And while so much was happening, there is that big cool, it’s all so easy, well it looks so damn easy on the outside, but when you hear it all and you see world-class musicians smile in satisfaction at what they have created, your brain has to concur with your ears, it’s a triumph of music! In finalé – an audience in raptures.
Image courtesy of Laura Pliefer