Torben Waldorff: Wah-Wah (2012)
Danish-born, Sweden-based guitarist Torben Waldorff takes the leading role on Wah-Wah as main soloist, putting his melodic integrity, and a natural leadership that stresses tight group interplay, up front. All his original compositions feature the guitarist's gift for structuring engaging melodies with rich and sophisticated harmonic patterns and tasteful and economic solos, all varied in moods and colors but never indulging in excess. Waldroff's American quartet, featured on this album, toured with these tunes right before heading to the recording studio.
Waldorff's compositions are built on strong and clear melodic lines, enabling the quartet to communicate with playful, balanced interplay, creating an accumulated emotional cohesion. The album begins with the soft, lyrical melody or "Circle and Up," abstracted beautifully by veteran pianist Gary Versacea key member in other guitarists' bands such as John Scofield and John Abercrombiein a manner that brings to mind early collaborations between guitarist Pat Metheny and keyboardist Lyle Mays. The breezy "You Here" features bassist Matt Clohesy trading angular lines with Waldorff, while "Ginga" is a playful, straight-up jazzy tune, and a perfect showcase for the quartet's playful interplay.
"Fat#2" is built on repeated light, funky lines, developed with reserve, and connects organically with the lightly swinging "Poolside." "Evac" leaves more room for intense group improvisation, where Versace and Waldorff's unison lines stretch the melodic core, and Clohesy's muscular playing solidifies the melody. On "Cutoff (The Eleventh Bar)," drummer Jon Wikan's driving rhythmic sense pushes Waldroff's guitar flights, his shifting rhythmic patterns also challenging the guitarist on the following "Burtsong." The album concludes with the touching, country blues "Country and Fish (to play us out...)." Its straight-ahead melody and infectious harmonic development summarize the essence of this album.
A beautifully crafted set of melodies.
Track Listing: Circle and Up; You Here; Ginga; Fat#2; Poolside; Evac; Cutoff (The Eleventh Bar); Burtsong; Country and Fish (to play us out...).
Personnel: Torben Waldorff: guitar; Gary Versace: piano, Fender Rhodes, organ; Matt Clohesy: electric and acoustic bass; Jon Wikan-drums.