This live double CD is Kurt Rosenwinkel's seventh record as a leader and the first to be released on ArtistShare, following five releases on Verve. Such high profile output is notable even without taking into consideration the other forty or fifty releases he's appeared on since his auspicious early departure from Berklee in the early 1990s to join Gary Burton's band.
The record was recorded live at the Village Vanguard in January 2006, with a stellar quintet featuring Rosenwinkel's longtime collaborator Mark Turner (sax) sharing the frontline and pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Eric Harland in the rhythm section. In presentation, the music plays a bit of a game with the listener, offering a feeling of weighty consequence that is appropriate for an ambitious double CD of live takes ranging from eleven to eighteen minutes in duration, while also celebrating the fleeting weightlessness that allows the improvising musician to slice gracefully through time itself. This is the aspect of live performance that is hardest to translate to a fixed medium like a sound recording and The Remedy does a wonderful job of being both a document of an event and an event in and of itself.
One could describe the quintet's interaction in terms of the blistering drive and endlessly unfolding statements, only if in the next breath praise was afforded to the sensitivity and profound interdependence that gives this music such seemingly unlimited depth. Compositions like "Chords," "View From Moscow" or the title track hit the ground at a purposeful stride, setting the stage for the ensuing improvisational fireworks, while "Safe Corners," "Myron's World" and "A Life Unfolds" benefit from extended unaccompanied introductions from Rosenwinkel or Turner.
Rosenwinkel's music seems to operate in service of a much higher calling. The performers contribute to ensemble cohesion essential for the proper fostering of the extremes of delicacy and strength that provide such a wide spectrum of expression.
In the credits, Rosenwinkel thanks his constituents "for their incredible musicianship and dedication to the artistic principle." This gratitude is illustrative in that it translates into the printed word something of the magic that comes to greet the listener from across the recorded medium. The virtuosity on display throughout these two discs is an unrelentingly emphatic expression of what it means to put impeccable musicianship in service of art.
CD1: Chords; The Remedy; Flute; A Life Unfolds.
CD2: View From Moscow; Terra Nova; Safe Corners; Myron's World.
Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar; Mark Turner: saxophone; Aaron Goldberg: piano;
Joe Martin: bass; Eric Harland: drums.