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Exploring the Musical Self: Michael Kalisky Schutz Unveils "WHOAMI"

In the realm of musical explorations, few are as introspective and revealing as Michael Kalisky Schutz's latest album, "WHOAMI." Following the success of his first two albums, "The Voice of Peace" and "BACKWISE," the Boston-based guitarist and composer delves deeper into the narrative of self-discovery through an auditory journal that documents his dialogue with himself. The album, recorded in his native Tel Aviv, spans a range of genres, blending jazz fusion with elements of rock, classical, and electronic music.

The cover of "WHOAMI," shot by renowned photographer Rupert Truman and inspired by the legendary Storm Thorgerson, features a solitary figure in a spacesuit, standing in a sparse forest. This figure, face obscured and a guitar casually slung over the shoulder, holds a folded lead sheet—perhaps symbolizing Schutz’s journey into the depths of his musical psyche.

Q: Michael, could you share how you started playing the guitar?

A: Absolutely. It began when I was 10 years old, after a leg injury forced me to stay indoors. I picked up the guitar during that idle time and fell in love with it. The conservatory I attended shortly thereafter helped me formalize my passion into skill. Despite a hiatus during my military service, my dedication never wavered, especially when my captain allowed me time to continue my practice and studies.

Q: The title "WHOAMI" seems very personal. What’s the story behind this album?

A: "WHOAMI" reflects a period of profound personal inquiry. I wrote most of the music during my time in the military, using any break to compose pieces on a piano app on my phone. This album is very much about me questioning my identity and my path, both as a musician and an individual. The astronaut on the cover, lost in an unfamiliar forest, mirrors my feelings of navigating unknown territories in life and music.

Q: Who are your musical influences and heroes?

A: I've always been drawn to both the style and skill of great musicians. Jazz greats like Hank Mobley and modern maestros like Corey Henry have influenced my work. However, it’s the foundational techniques I learned from classical guitarists, especially my mentor Yaron Hasson, that deeply shape my approach to music. Their mastery of form and function inspires my own creative expressions.

Schutz’s "WHOAMI" is not just an album but a multifaceted journey through the layers of musical innovation and personal growth. Each track invites the listener to experience the nuances of his introspective journey, underscored by a diverse and talented ensemble of musicians. With his continued studies at Berklee College of Music and a clear vision for his future projects, Michael Kalisky Schutz is poised to keep unraveling the complexities of identity and artistry, note by note. As he crafts his path in the world of music, one can only anticipate more profound narratives woven into the strings of his favored guitar.


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