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KCRW: A Fun Hour with Jazz Guitar Wizard Wolfgang Schalk

Wolfgang had a blast on KCRW hanging out with the one and only Tom Schnabel. They talked about his new album “From Here to There”, guitars, guitarists, a classic "blindfold test" and other things. Listen to the broadcast here: ENJOY!


“Wolfgang Schalk is a guitarist’s guitarist. No matter how frenetic or soothing his playing may become, Schalk always plays with a master improviser’s sense of quest.” - DownBeat Editor’s Pick (Bobby Reed)

“One of the brightest stars in the jazz guitar firmament and one of the best jazz releases this year.” - Tom Evered, fmr GM & SVP, Blue Note Records

"Great new album! Solid! I rarely get CD's by jazz guitarists this good. I am really knocked out. It stands out."

- Tom Schnabel, KCRW


“Wolfgang Schalk has enjoyed an enviable career… Schalk displays a fluency in jazz-guitar styles ranging from Wes Montgomery to Pat Metheny to Toninho Horta... Schalk’s crystalline leads are soulful and elegant.” - Jazziz

“A musician with religious intensity and a composer with heavy virtuosity… a delicacy of decadent genius.”
- Couleurs Jazz HITS


"A powerful force... Schalk's single-note lines, on both electric and acoustic guitar, evoke the pin-point precision style of Pat Martino with the acumen of Pat Metheny... exceptional release." - All About Jazz (John Barron)

“This album and the sound’s contained within the jewel box, strap the listener in for one therapeutic session of a pure jazz melodic workout.” - Cadence Magazine (Karl Stober)

"The best, the most convincing, intellectually and - to the same degree - emotionally demanding jazz guitarist ... It's all about unrivalled world class.” - Jazz Podium (Alexander Schmitz)


"World class in every sense of the term... Schalk proves once again that some of the strongest and exciting voices in jazz guitar are coming from the other side of the Atlantic." - Just Jazz Guitar

"One of the best jazz guitarists on the US scene... Heartily recommended, and I've been playing jazz on the radio for 30 years." - John Motavalli, WPKN Radio, CT

"Superb outing by Austrian guitarist is fueled by the forcefully swinging rhythm section... A decided Pat Metheny-Pat Martino influence on the burning title track..." - JazzTimes (Bill Milkowski)

"Intriguing work... which reaches from warm-toned melodic playing to free-style adventuring."

- Los Angeles Times (Don Heckman)

"An adventurous modern jazz guitarist... A very fluent guitarist (perfectly at ease at rapid tempos) who also has an expressive sound." - LA Jazz Scene (Scott Yanow)

"Schalk's make -it -look -easy swing and brisk, mellifluous lines... the younger axeman tailors the influences to his own ends rather than simply throwing on hand-me-downs.” - Philadelphia Daily News (Critic's picks by Shaun Brady)

“It is improvised music of originality and high performance. Schalk and Brecker are perfect foils... This is a high-caliber chops fest." - (Walter Kolosky)

“Strong and modern post-bop vibe chops à la Pat Martino..." - All About Jazz (Mark F. Turner)

“I agree with others who have said his songs could become jazz standards... a first-rate composer.”

"An explosively inventive guitarist and a gifted, challenging composer... every single one ofthem has the potential to become a jazz standard... Highly recommended." - All About Jazz (Marc Mayers)

“A creative, genius Post-Bop guitarist… Explosive and meditative.” - Concerto [Five Stars Out Of  Five]

"Check out rare tracks from Brecker in his prime. He's the perfect foil for the guitarist's tricky, steeplechase unison lines… ‘No Smoke On The Water’ recall Weahter Report at its peak… he was wise to reinstate this gem in his catalogue." - DownBeat


"Impressive spidery chops... Schalk can’t deny the Wes Montgomery influence in his playing but he’s no mere clone.” - Cadence Magazine (Ken Weiss)

The prolific guitarist Wolfgang Schalk is at it again. With his latest offering, ‘From Here to There,” he continues to mine what seems to be an endless fount of brilliant musical ideas which he and his bandmates put forth with killer chops. - Walter Kolosky (Author and co-host of the Jazz Rocks! podcast.)

"The jazz guitar is a most beautiful and underrated instrument, and it's nice to hear it in the hands of a capable musician such as Wolfgang Schalk." - All About Jazz

Wolfgang Schalk, From Here To There (Frame Up)

Wolfgang Schalk is a guitarist’s guitarist. The six-string superfans who eagerly scoop up albums by Pat Metheny, Al Di Meola or Gilad Hekselman will feel right at home digging into Schalk’s seventh leader disc, From Here To There. The Austrian guitarist is known to many Stateside jazz fans for 1996’s The Second Third Man, an album that featured saxophonist Michael Brecker and later was remixed for a 2013 reissue. On his latest outing, Schalk demonstrates an admirable versatility while remaining firmly grounded in jazz. He opens the program with lovely finger-picking on nylon-string guitar for the meditative tune “Zensibility.” Elsewhere, armed with his electric axe, Schalk strides down intriguing musical paths informed by straightahead jazz (“The Now Catcher”) and bossa nova (“Starlit”). For this project, he surrounded himself with a quartet of superb players: pianist Andy Langham, bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Clarence Penn. The band shifts into a highly kinetic mode on “Wow Wow What?,” a high-hurdle race that finds the leader and Langham pushing each other frantically forward with hypnotic torrents of notes. Schalk wrote all the tunes on this seven-track program, with the exception of his joyful, deeply creative interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” No matter how frenetic or soothing his playing may become, Schalk always plays with a master improviser’s sense of quest.



Since moving from Vienna, Austria, to New York City, and subsequently to Los Angeles, guitarist and composer Wolfgang Schalk has enjoyed an enviable career. During the past 13 years, he’s recorded with elite players such as Michael Brecker, Dave Kikosky, Geoffrey Keezer and Helen Sung, to name a few. And no wonder: Schalk displays a fluency in jazz-guitar styles ranging from Wes Montgomery to Pat Metheny to Toninho Horta. Although the lion’s share of his discography comprises original compositions, the guitarist does honor his influences, including Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” on his latest album, and Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” on From Here to There (Frame Up Music), his latest. The album title might refer to the path of Schalk’s artistry, which encompasses jazz tradition as well as modern expressions, or it might reflect his bi-coastal existence, which finds him performing with bands in New York and California. The guitarist hardly sounds jet-lagged on the lovely and meditative “Zensibility,” our selection. Beautifully supported by pianist Andy Langham, bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Clarence Penn, Schalk’s crystalline leads are soulful and elegant.”

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