markus reuter

Live onstage in Reutlingen, Germany, in October 2015, Stick Men effortlessly blend sounds and styles, thanks to their mix of classical training and rock intuition. Photo by Kai R. Joachim

King Crimson paragon Tony Levin and composer/luthier Markus Reuter continue to redefine touch guitar—and bass—on Prog Noir.

The Chapman Stick is a strange and often misunderstood instrument. It’s not a guitar, bass, or keyboard, but, in a sense, it’s all three. This 10- or 12-stringed beast, invented in the early 1970s by the jazz musician Emmett Chapman, is played using a two-handed tapping technique, and despite how long it’s been around now, it’s still seldom seen onstage or in the studio—or anywhere else.

Relatively few players have fully realized the exciting possibilities inherent to the Stick. That’s what makes Stick Men—a band that includes two of the instrument’s most accomplished practitioners, Tony Levin and Markus Reuter, rounded out with the drummer Pat Mastelotto—such a force to be reckoned with.

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