Wolfgang Schalk: From Here to There
By MARK F. TURNER
Guitarist Wolfgang Schalk continues to bring that soulful swing which might label him as an acolyte of hard-bop jazz. Yet there's much more to his story as proven in his seventh release as leader From Here To There unveiling fresh material delivered by commanding musicians. This deference to the art-form also proves Schalk's exceptional talent and passion as a leader and performer.
Schalk supplies rapid-fired riffs and blistering solos in the appropriately titled "Wow Wow What" but there's also his distinguishable qualities such as touch, tonality, and phraseology in the unique cover of Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll" elevated by Andy Langham's erudite pianism and the spot-on rhythm unit of bassist Carlitos del Puerto and drum veteran Clarence Penn.
While the crew vigorously burns on up tempo numbers, the compositions where Schalk masterfully plays acoustic guitar are equally gripping: the quietude of "Zensibility" attended by Penn's shimmering cymbals or the title "From Here To There" where the guitarist's acoustic strings offer a tone-poem of graceful notes interweaved with dissonance and searching.
This is not only a fine program of jazz guitar but jazz music. Straight ahead yet progressive, stimulating and appealing From Here To There is another fine project from the enduring artistry of Wolfgang Schalk.