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Public school teacher Kyle Walz fuels 'Lifted Standards' with real emotion
(Published: April 07, 2012)

The music may have originated with others, but the deep level of emotion that guitarist Kyle Walz contributes to the covers on Lifted Standards is rooted in true feeling. What could have been a paint-by-numbers selection of instrumental makeovers is instead an honest expression of love - not just love in the romantic sense but a profound affection for music in general. Sliding between jazz and R&B classics, even flirting with classic rock, Walz delivers a shimmering coat of polish on the overly familiar.

A public-school teacher in St. Louis, Missouri, Walz certainly displays the technical versatility that is necessary in musical instruction. "Blue Bossa" unveils his command of Brazilian jazz, capturing the sunny disposition of its Latin background while also inserting a Westernized element with its fiery electric soloing. Walz' dreamy take on "Autumn Leaves" is jazz at its most ethereal while "Black Magic Woman" is awash in bluesy riffing.

According to Walz, the decision to record Lifted Standards was inspired by playing with a covers band that featured two music teachers. "At the end of practice on night, we jammed on Freddie Freeloader and some other jazz tunes with a simple chord progression," Walz recalled. "Hearing these guys play rock was good; when we stepped into jazz territory they were like completely different musicians with a whole new set of skills. That experience awoke something musical inside of me that burned hot." Some of the tracks on Lifted Standards were ones that Walz initially practiced with his group; inspired, he ended up recording an album's worth.

The record can also be seen as a reflection of Walz' understanding and appreciation of all styles of music, which has only strengthened as the years have passed. "Having lived some years now, music has always been a driving force of my personal life," Walz explained. "It's like reading a book at you reach a point in the story where you achieve epiphany and the early part of the story has clarity and richer meaning. The last few years, I started to really accept that music was a part of me. It was always what I came back to as a way to express myself."

More Information: http://www.kylewalz.com

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