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Kurt Rosenwinkel: Latitude

By Published: June 20, 2005

The Enemies of Energy, the Lost Album and Signing with Verve

While Rosenwinkel's first two releases concentrated on the standards repertoire, he was also honing his skills as a composer and, in fact, went into the studio only a few months after the recording of East Coast Love Affair with another of his bands—Mark Turner, Ben Street, Jeff Ballard and keyboardist Scott Kinsey—to record what would eventually become his first release for Verve in '00, The Enemies of Energy.

But in the intervening years between that recording and his signing with Verve, Rosenwinkel was, in fact, signed to Impulse!, recording another entire album that ultimately got lost in the label shuffle that saw Impulse! picked up by Universal and himself moved over to Verve. "That record was called Under it All," Rosenwinkel says, "and my inspiration for that record was all the blueprints—all of the technical information and blueprints beneath everything we use on a day-to-day basis. My father's an architect and I've always been fascinated by architectural drawings. During the time we recorded Under It All my room was just covered wall-to-wall with architectural drawings. I didn't know what any of the symbols meant—I couldn't interpret them literally—but to me the specificity of all of the blueprints was inspiring to me, and yet was totally abstract because I didn't know how to interpret them; but I loved the idea of specificity and abstractness. And that, of course, is really what's underlying music—it's very specific but at the same time totally abstract.

And so that was my inspiration for the concept of the record," Rosenwinkel continues, "which was just a personal aesthetic concept of my own. I made the record with the same people as on Enemies—Jeff, Ben, Mark and Scott—and we recorded it, we loved it and then the merger happened and I got sent to Verve. Verve saw that I had this record that I had just made and I also had this record that I had made a couple of years before, and they said that they wanted to put out the one that I had made before, which became The Enemies of Energy. That was cool for me, because I had done that one all by myself, had raised the money and was in debt to people for making it. So Verve bought it from me and that was good—I was able to get paid and pay everybody back for it.

"Musically the two records are pretty closely related," continues Rosenwinkel, "in that they are both very compositional, very orchestrated, they have some production elements — although Enemies has some post production and Under It All doesn't — we played it all live. But one of the biggest differences, and I think this is one of the reasons Verve didn't want to put it out, on Under It All I was using a guitar synthesizer—not on the whole thing, but on some of it, and they weren't into that. They really wanted to put me forward as a guitarist and I think that they had a record that was very compositional and I wasn't featuring myself as a guitarist hardly at all. And when I was featured I was playing guitar synthesizer, so they didn't really see, from a marketing standpoint, that it would represent the new guitarist, Kurt Rosenwinkel.

"I don't really care if Under It All ever gets released," Rosenwinkel concludes. Copies are floating around here and there, but my work is done. I would feel conflicted if I hadn't had the chance to finish it; but having finished it, it's totally mastered it's all there — I don't really feel the necessity to see it released. I've finished it, I've done it, and I've completed what I had to do. So whatever happens in its life, I wish it all the best—and I'm sure it'll come out sometime in some way. It's already out as far as I'm concerned in that if anybody really wants to get it they can find it." class="f-right s-img"> Return to Index...

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