Carl Weingarten | Life Under Stars

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Rock: Americana Moods: Type: Soundtrack
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Life Under Stars

by Carl Weingarten

The acclaimed slide guitarist, Carl Weingarten, backed by a stellar ensemble including Michael Manring(bass), Jeff Oster(trumpet), Celso Alberti(drums), Kit Walker(keyboards) delivers an up-tempo instrumental fusion of modern jazz and indie rock.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Remember Summer
2:27 album only
2. Evie
6:30 album only
3. A Different Rain
7:27 album only
4. Western Overnight
4:55 album only
5. Mr. Sundance
5:59 album only
6. Little Island
3:12 album only
7. Nightwalk
6:24 album only
8. Code Blues
6:44 album only
9. Sundial
4:05 album only
10. Three Will Pass By
4:26 album only



to write a review

Andy G

The Timeless Star In The Universe
American guitarist's latest instrumental album, largely aided and abetted by Michael Manring on bass, Robert M Powell on pedal steel, Kit Walker on keyboard, Celso Alberti on drums and various other musicians on various tracks and no one track has the same line-up.
So, at this point, you want to know what style of music we're talking – so you know whether to read on or not, as the case may be.
Well, I'm not going to make this easy for you – or rather, I'm going to make this easy for you.
Using guitars of various types, bass that floats and resonates, drums that slowly rumble and wash over you allied to lilting piano and assorted musical textures throughout the album, the mark of the calibre of Weingarten is that he has produced an album of moods – it's not folk, or jazz, or fusion or
anything you're going to bracket – it's an assortment of tracks that range from light and airy to dark and overcast – it's like summing up a year's weather in one album of gloriously composed, played and produced musical excellence. Not only that, it's a journey – a musical journey that reveals a plethora of delights along the way as you become mesmerised to the experience, every time you take it. Each track is very much an ensemble performance where all the musicians stand out but no single musician is more prominent than any other. On the 7 and a half minute “A Different Rain”, the only track on the album that's almost completely a vehicle for Weingarten on his own, the layers that are built up from the guitars, slide, keyboard and looping remind me a bit of a more folky Agitation Free in some weird way, while the mood created has you practically hearing the rain beating down on the roof as the clouds pass by on a hot summer's day, the guitar work evoking the feel of a pastoral mid-'70's Richard Pinhas or a more relaxed Lutz Ulbrich, that timeless feel so prevalent among the early Europena pioneers. Then you get a track such as the wondrous “Western Overnight” that evokes the heat of the desert, the wide-open spaces and the heart of man as that gorgeous pedal steel tugs your emotions and the piano runs like a slow moving river with the dobro, bass and lightest of drums, all shimmering in the background like distant heat haze on a beautiful day – it's just so amazing, you're almost in tears at the beauty of the piece. Every track is a work of excellence – largely slowly passing by, full of multi-textured wonders and assembled so that, while you hear all the component instrumental elements, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The near 6 minute “Mr Sundance” features a trumpet line that is simply immaculate, as it wafts over the rippling backdrop of guitars and bass, delicate percussion and sinuous dobro, all in all yet another sublime example of jaw-dropping creativity and beautiful musical assemblage. But, for once, a track by track analysis is not required. Just listen to any one track on this album and you'll be absolutely captivated by one of the most musically emotional experiences you'll get out of an instrumental album around today – you don't simply listen to music like this – you are enthralled as you absorb it and take it to your heart, knowing that it will sound this good no matter how many times you play it, no matter how long it lives with you. The word “timeless” was made for an album such as this.

Michael Diamond (

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Ambient music can often be ethereal and meditative, however, Carl’s version here is an upbeat top-down cruise to the beach. Like the images in the music video Carl created for the first track on the album, the music itself captures the carefree fun in the sun feeling of the summer season. This lightness of being carries over to the next track, a tune called “Evie.” Adding to the freewheeling vibe of the song is the airy flute playing of Barbara Else, and the propulsive drumming of Brian Knave, who performs on two of the album’s tracks. On a slightly more-dreamy note, is “Mr. Sundance,” highlighted by the always-tasteful accompaniment of Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugelhorn.

In addition to Carl’s own contributions on acoustic and electric slide guitars, dobro, keyboards, looping, and sound design, not to mention writing and arranging 10 original compositions, the album features the talents of a dozen other instrumentalists, including bassist Michael Manring, Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugelhorn, keyboardist Kit Walker, Robert M. Powell on pedal steel, drummer/ percussionist Celso Alberti and more. One of my favorite tracks was a trippy piece called “Nightwalk.” On this one, Carl dips into his sound designer bag of tricks to create an atmospheric sonic collage that with Jeff’s ambient muted trumpet had a bit of Miles Davis meets Pink Floyd vibe – very nice! It is music like this that has earned Carl accolades for being one of the most innovative guitarists in this genre.

While his music has been called “cinematic jazz,” certainly an expansive categorization, it’s not quite broad enough to describe all the elements and nuances that make up Carl’s sound. His use of slide guitar and dobro in an ambient context is groundbreaking, and transcends the blues and Americana roots they are generally associated with. In Carl’s hands they become textural instruments that add exotic sonic colors to his unique soundscapes. In addition to his multi-instrumental talents, Carl’s sterling choice of accompanists is part of what makes his music so incredibly cool. The songs are not complex. “Simple is beautiful,” says Carl. But all the elements magically merge to create some of the most fresh and inventive music I’ve heard in a while. "Life Under Stars" is an album I’m over the moon about.

To read a full length review of this CD, as well as others, please visit:

Ted Killian

Another Great CD from Carl
I have at least 4 or 5 of this artist's CDs now and each one is a new adventure. Not a bad one in the lot and none of them are much alike either . . . except in the excellent musicianship and composition department and the presence on Carl's tasty slide guitar.

Raj Manoharan (

The RajMan Review
This is simply one of the best guitar-led jazz/new age fusion albums ever recorded and released.

Carl Weingarten uses electric, acoustic, and slide guitars, dobro, and keyboards to weave a rich musical mosaic whose intricate threads also include bass (Michael Manring, Billie Duffey), keyboards (Kit Walker, Troy Arnett), flute (Barbara Else), trumpet and flugelhorn (Jeff Oster), electric and acoustic guitars (Pat Duffey), pedal steel (Robert M. Powell), drums and percussion (Celso Alberti, Brian Knave), and vocals (Lucy Allen, Tate Bissinger).

Weingarten traverses the sonic range of his instruments, yielding a masterwork in which the sounds are just as important as the music, without sacrificing the latter. The irresistibly catchy tunes are instantly memorable, such that they continue to resonate even after just one listen.

In terms of both guitar artistry and overall band musicianship, this album puts Carl Weingarten right up there with Andy Summers and Paul Speer.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"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! Check it out!