Kurt Rosenwinkel: Latitude
Concurrent with his work with Motian, Rosenwinkel was part of a nascent New York scene that included artists like pianist Brad Mehldau, saxophonist Mark Turner, bassists Ben Street, Larry Grenadier and Avishai Cohen, and drummers Jeff Ballard and Jorge Rossy. Regular gigs at Small's helped Rosenwinkel to solidify his own conception, both in terms of his musical approach and in terms of his tone. What is remarkable about hearing his first CD, East Coast Love Affaira live album recorded at Small'sis that he already had a firm grasp on the things that would be important to him in terms of developing a distinctive musical voice and immediately recognizable tone.
East Coast Love Affair was released on the Spanish Fresh Sound New Talent label an imprint that has introduced a number of now-significant artists, including Mehldau and The Bad Plus. "I wasn't even thinking about any kind of long term strategy, in terms of kinds of albums I wanted to make," says Rosenwinkel. "At the time I was in New York, living hand to mouth and developing music with my friends. I happened to be doing a lot of sessions with Jorge RossyI've known him for years. We were doing a lot of jam sessions at each others' houses and in the New York scene.
"Jorge, is from Barcelona," continues Rosenwinkel, "and the Fresh Sound label is from Barcelona as well. So when Jordi Pujol, the owner of Fresh Sound wanted to start this label New Talent, he contacted Jorge, who he knew had all these contacts in New York, and he hired Jorge to be the A&R [Artists and Repertoire] person. So all of the first records on Fresh Sound were basically proposed by Jorge; just taking advantage of all the different scenes that he was aware of going on in New York at the time. One of those involved me and the music that we were playing, which was just basically playing tunes at sessions. Jorge and I had a nice hook-up as a trio with Avishai [Cohen, bassist], and so at the time the idea came to make a record that was what we were doing musically. We just felt like we wanted to do that, and so I didn't really think of it in terms of any kind of planning; it was simply an opportunity and we took it."
East Coast Love Affair, released in '97, and Rosenwinkel's next albumIntuit, released on Gerry Teekens' Criss Cross label in '98, were both essentially standards records. Rosenwinkel views playing standards and working on original materiallike sessions he recorded for Chris Potter's '98 release Vertigo and Brian Blade Fellowship's '00 album, Perceptual, to be different aspects of the same continuum. "I think, in terms of the feeling I want to get to, it's the same thing," Rosenwinkel explains, "but in terms of the actual music it's very different. I have an awareness of my own relationship to standards that has evolved over the years, and it's an important part of being a jazz musician. It's a good backdrop to really see how your playing is, it's almost this sort of neutral stylistic context where you can discover what kind of player you are, what the qualities of your playing are. With original music, it's so much more about the mood of the tune as a composition; it already has this mood that you're trying to get inside of, and play from the centre of, so it's very different in terms of approach. With my tunes, for example, each song has its own real identity, so in that sense they're not sketchesskeletal vehicles like standards. The best music that comes from my writing is when the band is just playing the tune, in the most essential way possible. And then that unlocks all the doors to interaction and improvisation. So the approach to the two is very different. It's kind of like looking at the same thing from a different angle." class="f-right s-img"> Return to Index...