Suntan Lady 2010 CD $12.
Michael Kollwitz - Grand Stick®, Stick Guitar®, both with MIDI
Don McClellan - pedal steel
Mika Villaren - ukulele
Kris Thomas - percussion
Suntan Lady features five new original songs and longtime standards like "Aloha Oe", "Puamana" and "Hawaiian War Chant". Michael uses MIDI to add synth pads and strings, contributing to a relaxed mood.
Digital cover art by Sean Stirling.
Waterfallin' 2006 CD $12.
review by Jim Reilly
Those of you familiar with Michael's previous releases will recognize left hand arpeggios and the clear, clean Grand Stick with MIDI sweeteners on the melody side. That's present on Waterfallin' too, but on top of that, Michael has added the crisp, bright Alto. The Alto cuts through the mix and adds any upper register shimmer to eleven of the disc's fifteen tracks.
The Grand with MIDI and the Alto Stick are perfect compliments to each other. On the first tune, appropriately titled "Waterfallin'", a cascade of notes fall from the Alto over a bed of Grand chords, arpeggios and subtle counter melodies. My personal favourite is Michael's version of Sting's "Fragile." Here the range of the Alto seems to match Sting's tenor seamlessly. Michael also covers, "California Dreamin'," "Nights in White Satin," "C'est La Vie," "Summertime," and "Baby Elephant Walk." The other nine tunes are originals. All stay true to his sonic formula: lay down and solid foundation, then sweeten it with a strong melody on top.
It's hard to find any faults with this disc. I've written before, how Michael's music is wonderful to just put on, sit back and relax too. My favourite thing to do with his music is to put on headphones and use it as live soundtrack while I go walking. He always manages to stimulate and sooth simultaneously.
Waterfallin' is an important addition to any Stick library. Not only because it marks the introduction of the Alto Stick, but also because it makes a fine musical statement that rises above both the Grand and Alto instruments.
Moments 2003 CD $12.
Stick soloist Michael Kollwitz has played countless gigs over the years to diverse audiences. His newest release, "Moments", nicely captures some of the standards and originals he regularly performs live. The mood is mellow and relaxed, but with those fully realized song arrangements that experienced Stickists are known for.
This album is strictly solo and mostly with no effects at all, except for an occasional sustained "sweetener" effect of selected melody notes very subtly time extended, thanks to some tasteful use of The Stick's MIDI'd melody through a GR-1 synthesizer. Otherwise, melodic effects are done with the right hand fingers alone, while the left hand carries the rhythm and chord changes.
A quote from Michael - The recording of "Moments" was an effort to capture the true essence of The Stick in it's purest form.
Steppin' Out 2000 CD $12.
Michael has long been playing live Stick solos and drum duos at clubs, parties and colleges, and now has finally decided to seriously record something. The resultant CD is a well done production which inevitably brings out his live and wild side. The scream of burning rubber introduces the title song, a blues by drummer Steve Hargrave.
Mike plays mostly the old standards on Grand Stick and injects much expression and irrepressible humor into each song. He improvises melodically over the chord changes, adding slides, glisses, bends, vibratos, wah (from Patch of Shades) and sparkling fast runs over his rhythmic left hand.
This CD, previously titled Severe Tire Damage, had it's name changed to Steppin' Out for it's repressing in 2003.