7.20.11 Wolfgang Schalk Quartet @ BlueWhale

Blue Whale presents
WEDNESDAY JULY 20, 2011 8PM
BLUEWHALE
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  213.620.0908 

Using his keen talent for musical invention, Wolfgang Schalk has garnered international acclaim as a gifted guitarist and composer.

A guitarist with not only impeccable chops but one who plays with deep soulfulness and feeling, Wolfgang Schalk delivers his freshest recording to date with Wanted, further proving his artistic abilities while providing music that is relevant and thoroughly engaging. This artful blend of hard swinging and cool vibes is articulated through an outstanding new quartet.

Wolfgang Schalk’s distinct tone conveys tender warmth whether in high speeds in bebop, funky pieces, or tender ballads. Recalling the sounds of esteemed fret-board masters Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Martino and Pat Metheny, Schalk expands on the tradition by playing dynamic music and exposes consummate skill and thoughtfulness as one of today’s authentic jazz guitarists.

AllAboutJazz writes: “Schalk creates impressive structures for improvisation, and he fits each and every structure with a hip, catchy melody. If other musicians pick up on these tunes, every single one of them has the potential to become a jazz standard.”

The main characteristics of Wolfgang Schalk’s music is his drive to formal control on one hand and his melodic talent and skills as a composer on the other. His compositions are pleasantly complex, rich in contrasts, nevertheless resolutely intended in a narrative cantability that creates fertile room for expression with his musicians.

Leading his own bands, Schalk has recorded five CDs as a leader with all original music. His previous recordings: Rainbows in the Night (2002, West & East) and Space Messengers (2005, Universal / Emarcy) received enthusiastic praise from journalists, musical peers and fans alike. In 2005 Wolfgang Schalk signed a recording deal with Universal Music and in 2008 Schalk founded his own record label Frame Up Music.

Wolfgang Schalk has worked with an impressive lineup of notable musicians, including 11-time Grammy award-winning Michael Brecker, Dave Kikoski, Andy McKee, Ian Froman, Rick Margitza, Dave Carpenter, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Geoffrey Keezer and John Beasley to name a few. Michael Brecker delivered some of his finest blowing on Wolfgang’s NY debut “The Second Third Man“, cutting loose on tracks like the album’s title cut. Jazz.com writes: “The Second Third Man is indicative of the whole album. It is improvised music of originality and high performance. Schalk and Brecker are perfect foils…This is a high-caliber chops fest in the best tradition of the jazz-rock idiom.”

Wolfgang Schalk traveled a typically uncompromising path from the cities of Graz and Vienna Austria to New York. Schalk further developed his style audibly in the cosmopolitan urban pulse of New York City and succeeded in establishing himself in its stimulating yet hard-to-survive environment. Schalk most recently lives in Los Angeles and swings between the coasts.

From an artistic family, Schalk started straddling visual art and music early in his childhood. When he was six years old, he built a drum set out of stuff he found around his home and jammed with his brother in his parent’s stable. At the age of 15, Schalk switched from playing the accordion to classical guitar. He got into jazz in art school. Schalk’s story is not the typical “I started listening to my parents’ jazz records” tale. “I brought jazz into our house,” he remembers. “I grew up in a village where people did not get jazz at the time.”

After a year of art school in Graz, Schalk realized he wanted to make music more than his desire to create visual art, so he dropped out of school to pursue a career in music. He studied jazz guitar with Franz Posch in Graz, who turned him on to guitarist Harry Pepl. Schalk says, “A lot of what I listened to at that time was the modern stuff. Wes Montgomery is still my hero. I see him as the father of contemporary jazz guitar.”

Schalk moved to Vienna from Graz in 1987, where he pursued studio work to perform with a wide variety of bands. Not content to play other people’s music, Schalk began to compose as soon as he picked up his guitar and quickly developed his own voice. In 1992, he formed his own bands with musicians the likes of Wolfgang Puschnig, Harry Sokal, Bumi Fian, Uli Rennert, Werner Feldgrill, Thomas Kugi, Paul Urbanek, Florian Bramboeck, Peter Herbert and many others. Schalk’s debut album, “The Be Hop Hip Bop,” was released in 1993 for the Austrian BMG distributed label West East Music.

Schalk recognizes that he is still a work in progress, and continues to seek the edge of the envelope, the area that just itches to be pushed. Mostly, though, he wants to make his own music on his own terms. “I don’t know if there’s anything really unique anymore, but I want to develop my language.”

Wolfgang Schalk endorses handmade Strings by Thomastik-Infeld.

Wolfgang Schalk website

BlueWhale website

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