An international summit meeting, 'Travel Guide' features US guitarist Ralph Towner, Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, and Kazakhstan-born and Australia-raised guitarist Slava Grigoryan. What all three share is a strong feeling for structure, a sense for lyrical improvisation and a feeling for space, harnessing instrumental technique to very graceful musical ends. Repertoire features five compositions by Towner and five by Muthspiel.
The three musicians first came together in 2005, initially for concerts in Australia, and have since toured widely. A 2009 recording on Muthspiel's Material Records label documented the group's early progress. Ralph Towner subsequently brought the project to ECM and the trio recorded this album in Lugano in August 2012, with Manfred Eicher as producer.
Ralph Towner has been a key ECM artist for more than 40 years, while Muthspiel and Grigoryan make label debuts here. Grigoryan is well known as the pre-eminent Australian classical guitarist of his generation, and Muthspiel has been an important figure on the transatlantic jazz scene for two decades, with his own bands and as a contributor to groups of Gary Burton, Paul Motian and many others.
Towner's ECM recordings have included solo albums, duo projects (with John Abercrombie, Gary Peacock, Gary Burton, Paolo Fresu), bands under his direction (including the much-loved Solstice with Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber, Jon Christensen), and the co-operative Oregon group. He has also contributed to albums by Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler and Egberto Gismonti, and guested with the group Azimuth.
Personnel: Ralph Towner (classical and 12-string guitars), Wolfgang Muthspiel (electric guitar, voice), Slava Grigoryan (classical and baritone guitars)