MUTHSPIEL / JOHNSON / BLADE
Wolfgang Muthspiel, guitars
Marc Johnson, bass
Brian Blade, drums
Liner notes for the CD
Real Book Stories (quinton records)
On the cover of this album you see a picture of New York taken from Hoboken, New Jersey, where we recorded these tracks. For me, it represents the beauty of a familiar place, looked at from a different perspective.
I come from a small town in Austria called Judenburg. When my family moved to the next biggest town, Graz, it felt like the center of the world. Yet, to the Viennese, Graz is considered provincial. To play in Vienna for the first time seemed the ultimate proof of being successful, until I moved to Boston to study. From Boston, New York seemed like a planet on its own, unattainable and scary. When I finally moved to New York City, I settled in "the village", for many the center of Jazz.
So, over the years I have moved from the outside to the center, finding out among other things, that the center looks quite different once you are in it. It loses all the qualities that are commonly attached to it and assumes different ones. While New York City used to stand for things like Speed, Pulse, Metropolis, Center of Jazz, it now stands for Friends, Soccer in the Park, our Apartment, and the Early Bird Special at the Japanese Restaurant.
In a way, that's how I approach the music on this album. I am looking at Standards from an outsider's perspective. I grew up with Mozart and not with Ellington and I was already playing music a long time before I discovered Jazz for myself. I like to be a foreigner, speak another language than my mother tongue. I like accents.
This is my first album of Jazz Standards. I've always played them, but rarely in my concerts or on my albums. This recording feels to me like a conversation about Standards. A conversation with two of my favorite musicians about a music I love.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, New York, June 2001
J.J.Johnson's ballad was first introduced to me by my brother Christian, who plays trombone and loves J.J. This one is for my father.
All The Things
is one of the first Jazz Tunes I learned. When Keith Jarrett's recording of it came out, I was finally convinced that playing Jazz was what I wanted to do.
Someday My Prince Will Come
is forever connected to Miles, who is my favorite Jazz musician
I Hear A Rhapsody
I played this tune a lot in Gary Burton's band and I can still hear him turning it upside down. On this recording we never really play the melody.
Blue In Green
Here all I do is play the melody over and over again.
The more complex the changes are, the more difficult it is to really improvise and not play patterns. I have practiced this tune for a long time and I now officially quit practicing it.
is one of my favorite tunes and one of the few Standards I play in concerts sometimes.
was introduced to me by Herb Pomeroy, a fantastic arranger and teacher in Boston. I played it a lot with the guitarist Mick Goodrick, who taught me a world of things that seem to have nothing to do with the guitar.
Ask Me Now
I played this one for the first time in Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band. Like many of Monk's tunes it is tricky and simple at the same time.
has one of those short forms that totally depend on what happens on top of them. The tune is simply the vehicle for improvisation.