Hi there, glad you found me.
I play the guitar – but not as you know it. I hope you like it!
(solo excerpt from Slowburner by LUNAR orchestra)
Melle Weijters (1981) studied Jazz guitar at the Conservatory of Maastricht (NL). He graduated cum laude in 2005 and established a profound reputation as a modern jazz player as a member of Carlo Nardozza’s Quintet.
“He [Melle Weijters] plays in a fascinatingly instinctive way, with a skewered take on traditional jazz guitar. For example, comping chords jutted out at weird angles and could morph into noisy funk, solos floated disconnectedly or turned rock-ish, but all this without being too in-your-face or self-conscious about it.”
“Véritable inventeur de tonalités inattendues, […]”
(Dragon Jazz, 2008)
“[…], whose solo playing is quite alien to the jazz tradition.”
(R.T.B.F. Jazz, 2006)
Around this time—in pursuit of improvisational freedom—he started experimenting with fretless guitars. This led into a deep interest in various alternative tuning systems which resulted in the development of his own microtonal guitars: a fretless 10-string electric guitar (2010), a 41-tone variant (2013) and various 31-tone or meantone guitars. Another specialism of his is the non-octave scale called Bohlen-Pierce, the equal division of the octave+fifth in 13 steps. This led to a ongoing collaboration with the Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project group led by Georg Hajdu in Germany from 2015 as well as an invitation from Belgian composer Christian Klinkenberg to become a member of his Kl-Ex Ensemble in 2018. As of january 2013, he is artistic coordinator and producer at the Huygens-Fokker Foundation, centre for microtonal music in Amsterdam.
There’s just one reason not to abandon 12 tones per octave altogether: his beautiful 1917 ‘the’ Gibson harp guitar, to be heard on the CD ‘When the caged bird sings’, an anthology of poems by the 19th century Afro-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), selected and set to music by vocalist Roderik Povel.