Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
345

Kurt Rosenwinkel: The Next Step

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count Views
Kurt Rosenwinkel: The Next Step When you stop to think about it, there are relatively few guitarists on the current jazz scene working to go beyond the boundaries of a mainstream manifesto. Sure, you've got talented youngsters such as Russell Malone, Peter Bernstein, and many others functioning within the tradition. But even as endowed as these guys are, they have not chosen to see outside of the box in the same manner that Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell have. This is not to dismiss the talents of anyone with something important to say regardless of the medium, just to put into context the fresh perspective of Kurt Rosenwinkel, a major talent who has dwelled in obscurity for far too long. A regular of the downtown crowd and mainstay at the New York jazz club Smalls, Rosenwinkel has the ability through a major label recording contract to now bring to a wider audience the sound that has heretofore only caught the ears of a privileged few.

Following up on a debut set for Criss Cross and his first Verve side, The Enemies of Energy, Kurt's The Next Step is so aptly titled that it's downright scary. This proves to be the perfect forum for the guitarist and composer as he lets it all hang out over the course of eight clever originals. What's so hip is that as quirky and downright odd as Rosenwinkel's tunes can be, they also have a beguiling quality that rings true. After just a few introductory spins, I spent the rest of the day with the lead off tune "Zhivago" turning around in my brain. Additionally, the axiom that a working band develops along lines quite superior to that of your typical jam session is brought home due to the fact that Rosenwinkel has been seen regularly with this group for some time and his relationship with tenor saxophonist Mark Turner goes back to 1994.

There's something to be found in each of the guitarist's lines (and the nuances keep appearing after many exposures), yet it wouldn't hurt to touch on a few points of intrigue. "Filter" is a prototypical chart, full of jagged melodies that dictate phrase length and bar lines. Collective banter between Turner and Rosenwinkel becomes heated, leading to a dramatic solo statement from drummer Jeff Ballard. Several tunes find Kurt singing along with his guitar lines, adding another dimension to such cuts as the previously mentioned "Zhivago." Man of many hats, Rosenwinkel puts down the guitar and sits at the piano for the title romp, changing gears at its conclusion with a catchy shuffle beat.

Only time will tell, but it seems fairly certain that Kurt Rosenwinkel stands on the verge of becoming the next major innovator in the lineage of jazz guitarists, picking up where Bill Frisell left off and taking us far into the 21st century.


Track Listing: Zhivago; Minor Blues; A Shifting Design; Path of the Heart; Filters; Use of Light; The Next Step; A Life Unfolds.

Personnel: Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar, piano; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Ben Street bass; Jeff Ballard: drums.

| Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop For Jazz

Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Star of Jupiter
Star of Jupiter
Wommusic
2012
buy
Our Secret World
Our Secret World
Wommusic
2010
buy
Reflections
Reflections
Wommusic
2009
buy
The Remedy
The Remedy
Wommusic
2008
buy
Deep Song
Deep Song
Verve Music Group
2005
buy
Heartcore
Heartcore
Verve Music Group
2003
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Pat Martino Pat Martino
guitar
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Brad Mehldau Brad Mehldau
piano
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.