Guitarist and composer Wolfgang Schalk’s new album From Here to There
is an electrifying statement celebrating the power of now" in jazz. Schalk’s new compositions plus a fresh take on Ellington’s Satin Doll" bring the listener on a swinging spiritual journey from the first note. His band—Andy Langham
(piano), Carlitos del Puerto
(bass), Clarence Penn
(drums)—masterfully support Schalk’s characteristic warm sound and swinging lines.From Here to There
, released on Frame Up Music and Schalk's 7th album as a leader, stands as one of his finest works. Following his acclaimed Word Of Ear
(Frame Up Music, 2012), this collaborative tour de force is a palette of soulful attitudes and vibes. Schalk’s intimacy of style, so evident in the title song, affirm his status as one of the most talented guitarists of his generation.
Schalk demonstrates his virtuosity on the nylon string acoustic guitar in the meditative opener “Zensibility,” conveying a feeling of timeless, beguiling introspection. As Schalk says, There is no time...it's a human invention." But timing plays a big role in Wolfgang’s conception. “My recording sessions for a new album are usually very spontaneous. I don’t like thinking about the future in general. I try to leave things open because it keeps the whole process fresh. Of course, this only works when you are surrounded with your favorite musicians and great chemistry.” Schalk’s impressive timing and structure for improvisation continues in the blues The Now Catcher," where technique is used in service to a subtle musical intelligence.
Both of the up-tempo tunes Last Night’s Song” and Wow Wow What", are a reflection of the bands inner dynamics both on a musical and emotional level. Schalk's rolling vamp intro and time changes breath fresh life into Satin Doll" as does a bright piano break. A quiet reflective intro to Expressions" leads to a slightly angular grooving propulsive feel that supports Schalk's fleet technique. The album concludes with Starlit" another song out of Schalk’s book—a heartfelt, slightly bossa-flavored intimate piece that leaves the listener with a sweet aftertaste.
Schalk's body of work has long been praised by jazz and guitar experts and fans. His talent has caught the ear of numerous music tastemakers including KCRW’s Tom Schnabel who stated, I rarely get CD's by jazz guitarists this good. I am really knocked out. It stands out.” Jazz Podium critic and author Alexander Schmitz speaks to Schalk’s style this way, The best, the most convincing, intellectually and- to the same degree- emotionally demanding jazz guitarist... It's all about unrivalled world class."From Here to There
marks a brave step forward by one of the most innovative musicians on today's scene. I'm still a work in progress" Schalk states, but it is evident from the music on From Here to There that his talent places him in the upper tier of today's jazz guitarists.
Wolfgang Schalk: guitars
Carlitos Del Puerto: bass
Clarence Penn: drums
Andy Langham: piano