Primary Instrument: Guitar, electric
When the chord from a borrowed guitar finished ringing Willie Oteri looked up at his present wife and together they realized that Willie is first and foremost a musician and a fulltime one he should again become. At the time, the late ‘90s, the two were living on a sailboat berthed just south of San Francisco and Willie had not touched or even owned a musical instrument in several years, partly the result of financial hardship due to the ill health of his first wife and the time needed to care for her and her son. This left Willie with little choice. Prior to these times Willie was performing and recording with popular west coast Blues, Rock and Jazz Fusion bands and gaining a well deserved reputation sharing the stage with names like The Doobie Brothers, Chaka Khan, Bob Seger and Neil Young among others.
Imagine, after nearly a decade off from music, older and wiser with a driving will to suceed but then having to jump back into a youth obsessed industry. Willie did just that and from that point rose to a level beyond many players dreams, making well received recordings with some of the World’s best musicians including Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, Mike Keneally, Stu Hamm, Brannen Temple and Ephraim Owens, to name a few. Such an accomplishment has garnered Oteri increasing notoriety amongst his peers and fans alike and made him a rare anomaly in the music world.
Born and raised in central California Willie started performing in his 20s as a bassist and later developed a unique style on Pedal Steel Guitar (he now plays only guitar). Due to events mentioned above it would not be until 1995 when he could release his first solo album “Willy’s Cry” for JSW; After a second release in 1998, (both albums are currently out of print) and wanting to widen his style he moved to Austin, Texas where he founded Jazz Gunn, (AKA MateMaToot) along with drummer Brannen Temple (Sheena Easton, Kevin Paige, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson), bassist Chris Maresh (Eric Johnson, Abra Moore, Mitch Watkins), Mike Malone (Jimmy Smith) on sax and Chris Tondre on second guitar. In 1999 Jazz Gunn released “Concepts of Mate Ma Toot”.
With good response for Jazz Gunn from critics and fans alike Willie wanted to further this kind of experience, so he started looking for a top producer, someone who had worked in both jazz and rock to provide a more progressive and open approach than might be obtained from someone who only works in jazz. In his research he met Ronan Chris Murphy, who had worked with King Crimson and Chucho Valdes amongst others. In 2001, Willie met and recorded with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto, the rhythm section of King Crimson, and their work was later overdubbed with Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa) on keyboards and Ephraim Owens on trumpet. Final mixing was complete in early 2002 and “Spiral Out” was released on DIW Diskunion in 2003 and re-released in 2005. (The first WD-41 redordings will be released on June 16, 2009 at CD Baby and iTunes)
Willie Oteri has collaborated and performed with Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, KingCrimson, John Lennon) Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, XTC), Mike Keneally(Frank Zappa), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani, SteveVai) and others including Ronan Chris Murphy (producer and musician), Brannen Temple (Sheena Easton, Kevin Paige, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson), bassist Chris Maresh (Eric Johnson, Abra Moore, Mitch Watkins), Mike Malone (Jimmy Smith) and Ephraim Owens (Erika Badu). The breadth of such performing and recording situations is a testament to his musical versatility and talent. In recent years, it is Oteri’s role as composer and band leader which has garnered him increasing notoriety coupled with a notable unique style on guitar.
Willie returned to Austin Texas in 2008 from nearly four years in Padua, Italy. In Austin he hooked up with longtime friend Dave Laczko to form WD-41 again exploring beyond the boundaries of various genres.
Initially Oteri offers a more languid approach that creates mood, something rather lacking among this column’s CDs, with their in-yer-face anxiety to please.”
Stuart Nicholson - JazzTimes
Jamming with you must be one of the greatest thingsyour music sounds great, and it always amazes me how far you can stretch a musical idea. Brilliant!
Guitarist Enrico Crivellaro
My favorite avant garde guitarist! Habitual Grace Records