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Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio: Reflections

Mark Corroto By

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Like an Ian McEwan short story, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel can say more in a few lines than most guitarists manage over the course of an entire recording. On Standard Trio: Reflections he inscribes his signature sound on a set of ballads—all classic tunes except for one original.

His trio of bassist Eric Revis and drummer Eric Harland are perfect companions on a collection where less is truly more; they eschew the pyrotechnics for a steady accompanying swing. Harland—a member of the SFJAZZ Collective who has also played with Charles Lloyd—has worked with Rosenwinkel before, accompanying the guitarist on his last disc, The Remedy (Artist Share, 2007), a burning display of technique and soloing from an engagement at the Village Vanguard with saxophonist Mark Turner and pianist Aaron Goldberg.

Gone is the exhilaration of that live set, replaced here with the robustness of a confident player settling down to tell a more intimate story. Rosenwinkel's listeners are his confidants as he negotiates two tracks by Thelonious Monk and two by Wayne Shorter. He soars over the bossa nova laid down behind Shorter's "Ana Maria" and nudges against the bright urban beat of "Fall." Rosenwinkel slyly reworks both Monk tunes. As Harland skips and Revis bounces the beat on "Ask Me Now," Rosenwinkel cradles the melody, rocking back-and-forth. Likewise, he forces the title track, Monk's "Reflections," to be reconsidered—not with nostalgia for the past, but a blues-inspired hopefulness for the future.

Elsewhere, the classic tracks "More Than You'll Know," "You Go To My Head," and "You've Changed" exude a luxuriousness, not of affluence but delight. Rosenwinkel, Harland, and Revis bypass the circuitous here for a direct and transparent take on some beautiful music.

Track Listing: Reflections; You Go To My Head; Fall; East Coast Love Affair; Ask Me Now; Ana Maria; More Than You Know; You've Changed.

Personnel: Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar; Eric Revis: bass; Eric Harland: drums.

Title: Reflections | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Wommusic

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