Three internationally acclaimed guitar artists, Towner, Muthspiel and Grigoryan have collaborated once more on their album Travel Guide, recorded on the ECM label. Classical guitar cult followers enjoyed the reunion on their recent Australian tour, Travel Guide, where the three guitarists played in halls such as Hobart’s MONA, Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney City Recital Hall, Brisbane Powerhouse and a packed Byron Bay Community Centre theatre.
This is not the first recorded meeting for the three classically trained masters of guitar. In 2008 they produced From a Dream under the group MGT. Indeed it was a dream album, a highly played (well from this writer’s JVC player it was!) chilled out union of contemporary and improvised acoustic and electric guitar. The From a Dream album sleeve sums up their musical union we are fortunate to hear again on Travel Guide; “Music is a miraculous generator of possibilities. It is a language that can reach into far cores of the globe to merge diverse musical backgrounds, personalities and nationalities.”
Towner, an American, who possesses a recording career of 30 years, is an acclaimed 12-string and classical guitarist. Muthspiel, born in Austria and now an American citizen is an internationally recognised guitarist and composer within the jazz and classical music scene. And Grigoryan, who has a loyal following in Australia and also the Artistic Director of the Adelaide International Guitar Festival, is the humble classical guitar maestro. Khazakstan born and Australian raised Grigoryan is often touring with his younger brother Leonard, but this year playing with the musical innovator and his hero Towner.
Described as an “international summit meeting” by ECM, Muthspiel and Towner wrote five compositions each on Travel Guide. The track The Henrysons written by Muthspiel is seven minutes of delicate reminiscent music. Classical guitars weaving the lyrical notes in the foreground accompanied by the mindful pianissimo electrical guitar of Muthspiel, giving depth on piano like chords. There aren’t any guitar solos on this album. What is highlighted on this album, are three guitarists who tread lightly around each other’s playing, sharing the protagonist’s role.