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Kurt Rosenwinkel: Latitude

By Published: June 20, 2005

The Next Step and Heartcore

Rosenwinkel's next two releases, '01's The Next Step and '03's Heartcore, couldn't have been more different, although both garnered increasing critical and popular acclaim. "While with Enemies and Under It All, the core of those records was my quartet," says Rosenwinkel, "which was a working band, they were very compositionally-motivated records. The Next Step was a record where I really wanted to capture the sound of the band live, and so we're playing original tunes, and that's an important part of it; but the real thing of it is the live interaction of the band. In the beginning I had to fight a little bit more to get the go-ahead from Verve for The Next Step; they wanted me to do a different record. But I was totally resolved that that was going to be the record I made—I just knew it was the record I had to make, and so we kind of had a little bit of a battle over that and then I think that after the record came out and it got a lot of critical acclaim, I think that from that point on they kind of trusted my instincts."

Heartcore, on the other hand, is a complete antithesis—while there was participation by other players including Turner, Street and Ballard, as well as production assistance by hip-hop artist Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest—it was essentially a solo record, made at home on studio gear that Rosenwinkel financed with the advance money for the record. "Heartcore was a huge thing for me," Rosenwinkel explains, "it was the biggest project that I've ever done, and for me it was a total success, just on a personal level.

"It took a long time," Rosenwinkel continues, "and it was really challenging, but it was something I had to do, it was like my solo record, totally just a solo record. It was like making a huge sculpture; I was sculpting every single moment of the record, and I ran the whole spectrum of emotions every day, from bliss and excitement, listening to what I had come up with, to absolute total dejected depression, like, 'Holy shit, how am I ever going to finish this?' There were all kinds of technical problems, all kinds of creative obstacles and challenges, and it was a huge effort. And so for me, I did it and it's exactly how it should be. That was my operating principle—I said, 'I'm not going to finish until I can have somebody come over, play them the entire record from start to finish, and not have one thought in my head that something should be different.'"

Heartcore literally took Rosenwinkel thousands of hours to record and mix over a two-and-a-half year period. "That was what I thought was the advantage of doing it myself," Rosenwinkel says, "and being in control of everything, not having any time constraints. I thought, 'If that's going to be the scenario, then that's going to be my goal,' and that's why it took two-and-a-half years. But I got it—there were some technical aspects that could have been better. I was using limited equipment, and now my studio is much better. If I made it now the quality would be better, but it's just fine — although we really had to work so hard to get it sounding like that. So it was a real adventure into the imagination, pure musical imagination; raw creativity, that's what that record is for me." class="f-right s-img"> Return to Index...

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