Jazzed Up

The stars align for Alameda guitarist.


Courtesy of Carl Weingarten

Artists like Carl Weingarten know that inspiration can strike any time.

For the cover of his new ambient jazz CD Panomorphia, the slide guitarist wanted an image that captured a sense of immersion in open space. He came across the story of Lloyd Scott, a leukemia survivor who goes to extremes to raise funds for charity. In 2003, Scott completed the world’s first underwater marathon, “running” the perimeter of Loch Ness in a deep-sea diving suit, 30 feet below the surface. Spotting an image of Scott wading into the water, Weingarten found his cover for Panomorphia.

 “I was going for a sound that was big, but quiet,” says Weingarten, also a producer and fine art photographer who moved to Alameda from St. Louis in 1998. “Something that’s right in front of you, but it’s not loud. It’s like standing in front of a ship that’s docked. You are impressed by the immensity of it.”

It snags you from the start with “Simian River,” an ethereal yet intense electric guitar tour de force reminiscent of music from the action cult movie Sucker Punch, a perfect analogy for this soundtrack-like CD that catches you off guard and knocks you for a loop.

According to Weingarten, who cites influences from Vivaldi to Brian Eno, Panomorphia was based on several late-night sessions when he turned on a recorder and jammed for hours. Then it was simply a matter of polishing a diamond in the rough.

“I have some stuff I played for 30 minutes,” Weingarten says. “I’m not going to use the whole thing, but there’s maybe a glorious seven minutes beginning at 20 minutes in, where everything just went right.” Apparently it went quite right. Released last year under the Multiphase Records indie label Weingarten founded in 1980, it ascended to No. 4 in the groovy Zone Music Reporter charts.

Weingarten has two other albums in the works. His music is available online at cdbaby, Amazon, and directly from his label at  www.mphase.com.

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