All About Jazz
By Mark F. Turner
Wolfgang Schalk, like most musicians of his caliber, has been on the jazz scene for a while. A native of Austria who now lives in New York City, Schalk has garnered international acclaim as a talented composer and guitarist. His style is smooth and his sound exudes a harmonious and melodic voice that's familiar and warm.
The new recording features impressive musicians, including notables Dave Kikoski on piano and Andy Mckee on bass. The quartet is made complete with fine rhythm work by drummer Ian Froman. Schalk wrote all of the compositions, which display his spectrum of skills from the semi-cooker "Mystify" (which is reminiscent of an early George Benson, with its rapid solo and chord runs), to the cool groove "What's That" (which reflects the group cohesiveness centered around very nice soloing from Schalk and Kikoski). Bassist Andy McKee delivers strong lines and soloing on the opener "Waltz in Blue", which also shows the creativity of drummer Froman.
Schalk's fretboard skills are equally proficient on acoustic guitar as well, revealing a dynamic and bright tone on the beautiful and lovely "Styrian Impressions" and the blissful final selection "Sonnenregen". The jazz guitar is a most beautiful and underrated instrument, and it's nice to hear it in the hands of a capable musician such as Wolfgang Schalk.