Exposé Online banner

Jon Wirtz — Tourist
((Not on label) , 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-19

Tourist Cover artWirtz is a Denver based keyboardist and composer who has performed mainly as a sideman for the last decade or so. Tourist is his second album, a follow-up to his 2010 debut Sea Level. His forte is a sort of an expressive laid-back jazz piano style, though on the ten tracks here he mixes things up quite a bit, and as such the result stands up to repeated listens without getting too samey. Wirtz, drummer Alejandro Castano, and bassist John Grigs are the core trio that are featued throughout; in addition, he has surrounded himself with some great guest players and occasional vocalists that compliment what he’s doing very well. While most of a track like “Despite Appearances (All is Well)” could easily pass for something by Keith Jarrett, following the build up half way through, some distorted electric guitar starts firing it up in the backgound, belying the tranquil scene that the piano, bass and drums have created. “Gratitude” is a gospel flavored jazz piece with some spoken rap by guest vocalist Jess DeNicola, and supported by a couple female backing singers. Easily the album’s standout, “Country” is an uptempo piece that could easily pass for an outtake from Dave Grusin’s On Golden Pond soundtrack. “In the Body” is a seriously beautiful introspective solo piano piece that segues seamlessly into the closing track “Awakening,” carrying the feeling forward with the full trio plus solo trumpet. While this wasn’t an album that jumped out and grabbed me on the first listen – in fact it left me a bit confused, further listens began to reveal its sincere warmth and sensitivity. Hopefully it will do the same for others.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Jon Wirtz

Latest news

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mani Neumeier & Peter Hollinger - Meet the the Demons of Bali – Wooaah, wait a minute, hold the phone, and just a cottin' pickin'... Mani has really done something different here! Some may remember the Privat CD reviewed last time. There, he took on every...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues