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. As of january 2013, he is artistic coordinator and producer at the Huygens-Fokker Foundation, centre for microtonal music in Amsterdam.
Besides his solo projects, he is part of the Bohlen-Pierce Clarinet Project group led by Georg Hajdu in Germany since 2015 as well as the Kl-Ex Ensemble founded by Christian Klinkenberg in 2018.
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.