Life Under Stars Carl Weingarten 2014 / Multiphase Records 53 minutes
"Life Under Stars" is the follow-up to Carl Weingarten’s 2012 ZMR “Best Chill/Groove Album,” "Panomorphia." Long regarded as one of ambient music’s most innovative guitarists, Weingarten infuses a lifetime of musical experience into the unique sound that he continues to explore, allowing it to evolve organically. On Life Under Stars, Weingarten appears on acoustic and electric slide guitars, dobro, looping, keyboards, and sound design. His very impressive group of collaborators includes Michael Manring on electric bass, Celso Alberti on drums and percussion, Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Kit Walker on keyboards. While the ten tracks are varied in style and instrumentation, the album holds together as a flowing unit that can be savored with full attention or as a colorful backdrop for working, relaxing, driving or whatever else you choose. Weingarten’s instrumental music has been described as “Cinematic Jazz,” which seems very appropriate. Also an avid photographer with a college degree in cinema production, Weingarten’s music is evocative and visual.
Eight years in the making, "Life Under Stars" opens with “I Remember Summer,” a piece with an easy-going rhythm and a lazy attitude. “Evie” might fit in the smooth jazz category (if you have to categorize), and features some beautiful flute playing by Barbara Else. “A Different Rain” includes a repetitive rhythm as well as the sound of thunder behind electric guitar and layers of other instrumental sounds - a favorite. I also really like the serenity and gentle motion of “Mr. Sundance.” “Nightwalk” conveys a sense of dark mystery while Oster’s muted horn gives it a taste of film noir. Guitar, bass, and various sounds of the night paint a story in deep shades of gray and blue. “Code Blues” expresses more of a party spirit with laughter in the background and some funky guitar blues. “Sundial” brings us back up to the light - ethereal and peaceful. My favorite is the closing track, “Three Will Pass By.” Cool and aloof, it has an easy-going mood at the beginning that darkens and becomes more intense as it unfolds.
Although Carl Weingarten is based in the SF Bay Area, this is my first exposure to his music. I’m intrigued and will be looking for more of it! "Life Under Stars" is available from www.mphase.com, Amazon, and CD Baby. Check it out!