Ten years in the making and with master guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel predominantly playing all the instruments (aside from additional contributions from notable guests such as Mark Turner on tenor saxophone and Eric Clapton on "Little Dream"), this is an intriguingly fine album of light, but not lightweight, tracks.
Opening with a distinctly Brazilian feel on the title track, its successor, "Kama," is characterised by falsetto, slightly tremulous vocals and legato violin from Frederika Krier. Typically, the pop/rock element of the songs presented here, such as on "Chromatic B," are deceptively straightforward sounding but in truth they're anything but. Skilfully crafted, the tunes contain a wealth of ideas often interposed with complex time signatures and overlaid motifs, that are atypical of most pop music.
There are bursts of scintillating Pat Metheny-like guitar on "Casio Vanguard" which elevate the Latin-tinged song to a new level. When singing tunes such as "Hold On," Rosenwinkel's voice shares with fellow guitar virtuoso Larry Coryell a similar fragility. Both guitarists are not the most dynamic of vocalists, but this is ameliorated by the emotionally-charged sincerity in their respective voices. So the vocals do actually work, and are often augmented by guest backing vocalists such as Amanda Brecker, Zola Mennenoh and Kyra Garey.
In the guitar breaks of the closer "Little B," Rosenwinkel evinces some Allan Holdsworth-esque axe work but nonetheless retains his own inimitable identity throughout. Rosenwinkel has produced, almost single-handedly, a staggeringly good album of heart-warming, memorable tunes. Eric Clapton is quoted as saying "Kurt Rosenwinkel is a geniushe really is." Slowhand's not wrong; he is indeed one seriously talented dude.
Caipi; Kama; Casio Vanguard; Summer Song; Chromatic B; Hold On;
Ezra; Little Dream; Casio Escher; Interscape; Little B.
Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar, bass, piano, drums, percussion, synthesizer,
voice; Pedro Martins: voice, drums, keyboards, percussion; Frederika
Krier: violin (2,5,10); Andi Haberl: drums (2); Antonio Loureiro: voice
(3); Alex Kozmidi: baritone guitar (3); Kyra Garey: voice (4); Mark
Turner: tenor saxophone; Eric Clapton: guitar (8); Zola Mennenoh: voice
(10); Amanda Brecker: voice (7,8,9); Chris Komer: French horn (11).
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