Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder, and Liberty Ellman are just a few of the notable modern day guitarists who are making own their marks in technique and ability. Adam Rogers also falls into this category, but the question remains for any artist: how does one distinguish his own identity? Rogers' new release may not sound altogether different from some of the postmodern bop variations, but it is distinct in its balance of both the art of high composition and performance.
With chops honed as a sideman on many recording sessions, Rogers' hollowbody fretboard prowess competes with some of the best, but he stands out the most compositionally with detailed, complex, and interesting ideas. This is clearly the trend he's taken on his two previous recordings as a leaderArt of the Invisible (2002) and Allegory (2003)so if you're looking for the standard fare, think again.
Rogers has recorded with a core group of players who all have extensive resumes as both sidemen and leaders. Clarence Penn is a versatile drummer with innate skills; Scott Colley is an in-demand bassist who's performed on numerous recordings; Edward Simon combines a most interesting jazz and Latin feel with a classic style; and Chris Potter's horn prowess speaks for itself. These guys have bonded and cooked together, and Apparitions continues in the same creative flow.
The aptly named opening "Labyrinth is packed with sudden twists and turns. Unison sax/guitar lines evolve into defined solo spaces; Rogers leads the way with rapid and intricate notes, prefacing other hearty spots by the sax and drums. "The Maya shows how the group executes the depth of the expert rhythm section. The mood can change quickly from hot tempos to icy moments, as on the dark title piece.
"Continuance may appease those looking for Wes Montgomery-like grooves, but with added detail, multiple cadence changes, and some incendiary solos from everyone. Two other interesting cuts include "Tyranny of Fixed Numbers, where Rogers shows his lighting-quick skills on a distorted Stratocaster, and its acoustic counterpart, "Moment in Time, where the guitarist explores his steel-string persona.
Personnel: Adam Rogers: guitar; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Edward Simon: piano; Scott Colley:
double bass; Clarence Penn: drums.