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Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel makes his ECM leader debut with Driftwood, a trio album of subtlety and depth featuring renowned US jazz players Larry Grenadier and Brian Blade. The group creates a ravishing sound, captured with fidelity at Rainbow Studio in Oslo. Lyrical, grooving and atmospheric by turns, the guitarist's compositions on this highly attractive recording include tributes to his heroes Joe Zawinul and Michael Brecker.

Wolfgang Muthspiel - who made his first ECM appearance on 2013's Travel Guide as a member of a cooperative trio with fellow guitarists Ralph Towner and Slava Grigoryan - has enjoyed long, productive musical friendships live and on record with both Grenadier and Blade, leading to a sense of telepathic interplay on Driftwood. The guitarist has been praised by The Times for his "restless musical imagination".

At the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Muthspiel studied both classical and jazz guitar, subsequently winning national competitions for classical music as well as the International Guitar Competition in Mettman, Germany. Interested in improvisation from an early age, in 1986 he emigrated to the US to study at the New England Conservatory with teachers including Mick Goodrick. At The Berklee School of Music he met Gary Burton who invited him to join his quintet.

While based in New York from 1995 to 2002, he participated in a great variety of musical projects with artists including Rebekka Bakken, Trilok Gurtu, Youssou N'Dour, Gary Peacock, Dave Liebman, Peter Erskine and many others. Current projects include a duo with Brian Blade, a quartet featuring pianist Jean-Paul Brodbeck, and a trio with Larry Grenadier and Chris Cheek. In addition to his jazz projects, Muthspiel writes for contemporary classical ensembles and has received commissions from the Ensemble for New Music Zurich, Kangforum Wien, The Austrian Ministry of Arts, the Boston-based Marimolin ensemble and more.

Personnel: Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar), Larry Grenadier (double bass), Brian Blade (drums)


  1. Name
  2. Joseph
  3. Uptown
  4. Cambiata
  5. Highline
  6. Driftwood
  7. Lichtzelle
  8. Madame Vonn
  9. Bossa for Michael Brecker
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