Michael Kollwitz

Moments Review

I received the following review (below) for my CD “Moments” from Voodoo Child magazine (Issue 67) Spring 2005. Voodoo Child is publication devoted to Jimi Hendrix and his music.

Guitarist Emmett Chapman invented The Stick in 1969. The instrument looks like the oversized neck of a 12-string guitar with no body. Looking like a stick, the strings run the entire length of the instrument which the player holds vertically and plays tap-style with both hands. As described by Chapman, “The Stick method enables live execution of complete musical concepts, from the bass on through chords and melody, to the effects. ambients and sweeteners, greatly enlarging the musical scope”. The Stick is played with both hands; simultaneously playing both bass and melody parts independently- by tapping and holding strings to frets (rather than pluck or strum).

Michael Kollwitz is one of the ‘first generation’ of Chapman Stick players. The Sacramento, California native began his studies with the inventor in 1976, and is currently heralded as one of the formost players in the country.

“Sweet, soothing sounds” is how Kollwitz describes his work. By his styling, you can tell he is enjoying what he is doing. Lighthearted, whimsical in his approach, on this release “Moments”, he mixes originals with recognizable material ranging from classical (‘Bolero’) to Broadway (‘My Funny Valentine’); from jazz (John Klemmer’s ‘Just Friends’) and Miles Davis’ ‘Freddie The Freeloader’) to rock (Santana’s ‘Europa’, The Beatle’s ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and Hendriz’s ‘Little Wing’)

“Little Wing” is a passively playful interpretation, the sustain of The Stick somewhere between a guitar and classical harp sound.

While pleasant, the simple solo work of Kollwitz on The Stick is designed for one who wants some casual, easy listening background-style music.

His music was selected for inclusion in the very first CD compilation of the world’s best Stick players on “Tappistry Vol. 1” {Toe Tappin’ Records} with his discography listing numerous titles including “Carnival”, “Steppin’ Out”, “Memories”, along with his Christmas favorite “Frosty The Stickman” (2004)