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Jon Wirtz

Tourist
Self-released

While Jon Wirtz has lent his piano and keyboard skills to a variety of singer-songwriters, from Matt Morris to Angie Stevens to John Common, he's also a fine jazz player, as evidenced on his stunning 2010 solo piano debut, Sea Level. There are elements of jazz on Tourist, and Wirtz surrounds himself with some first-rate jazz players like bassist John Grigsby and drummer Alejandro Castano, but the disc also shows what a versatile player and songwriter he is in his own right. Songs like "Gratitude" are steeped in gospel, while "Camouflage for a Sunny Day" is centered on an unhurried groove, and the title track feels somewhat like the Travels-era Pat Metheny Group. Although Wirtz and company even toss in bits of country, R&B and funk, the album, as a whole, manages to be both cohesive and compelling.

 
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