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Interviews

Kurt Rosenwinkel: Latitude

By Published: June 20, 2005


Gary Burton and Paul Motian—Formative Experiences

Rosenwinkel would ultimately end up studying at Boston's Berklee School of Music, but dropped out in '92 when Gary Burton asked him to join his band. "Gary's band," Rosenwinkel explains, "was the first really professional sideman gig that I had—it was the first international touring experience, it was the first kind of high profile scenario, so I really felt that it was a big break. It was a great experience from a professional point of view in terms of gaining experience and an entry into the world of what it means to be a jazz musician, what life is like as a jazz musician. Gary's a master musician, so listening to him play his solo pieces every night was the most musically inspiring experience for me in that band. He's a true master of the vibraphone."

The same year, Rosenwinkel joined drummer Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band, beginning a relationship that, as opposed to his relatively short stay with Burton, would last for the next decade. "Paul's totally different," Rosenwinkel says. "In Gary's band the parameters of the music were very specific, very specified, very controlled. In Paul's band some of them were set; there were some basic premises, like we're going to play bebop tunes, and this is going to be the arrangement—we're going to play the head and I'd take a chorus and Brad [Shepik, guitarist] would take two choruses and Josh [Redman, saxophonist] would take half a chorus. But beyond that there wasn't any musical guidance. So they had very different approaches as bandleaders. The Electric Bebop Band was a great experience playing with Paul, being alongside his incredible feeling of swing and rhythm. That was, for me, what I think I got the most out of it musically—just internalizing his feel on the drums and for music as a whole. That's what I come away with after having some perspective on it and years have gone by, that's really what I'm left with—a distillation of the entire experience for me was about absorbing his time feel and his feel for music." class="f-right s-img"> Return to Index...



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