Scott Yanow: Frank Wingold’s Virtues & Vices (DMCHR 71100) is most notable for the solos and interplay of the guitarist with tenor Niels Klein.
Frank Wingold, who leads the quartet on Virtues & Vices and contributed all nine compositions, began playing the guitar when he was nine. After studying at the Conservatory in Amsterdam, he settled in Cologne, Germany. A versatile player who excels on both acoustic and electric guitars, his influences include classical music, fusion, and the harmonically adventurous style yet quiet sound of Jim Hall. While he performs in a variety of settings, Clairvoyance is one of the best groups in which to hear his guitars.
The band also features Niels Klein on tenor and counter alto clarinet, bassist Dietmar Fuhr, and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel. Klein’s post bop tenor playing, which in spots recalls Michael Brecker, is a prominent part of the group’s sound, as is his close interplay with Wingold.
The nine selections, which include such titles as “Wildfang,” “Frail,” “Pie In The Sky,” and “Close Encounters Of The Blurred Kind,” often have complex melodies, tricky rhythms and time signatures, with consistently flawless playing by the musicians. Wingold and Klein both have the knack of playing passionate lines while sounding relaxed and generally laidback while Fuhr and Burgwinkel are not only supportive but play stimulating ideas that inspire the two lead voices.
Virtues & Vices is filled with music that rewards repeated listenings.