KURT ROSENWINKEL, STAR OF JUPITER


The modern guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has that suggestive aura of coolness that’s embodied by only a handful of jazz musicians. It’s neither deliberate nor studied – it just is and it comes from his playing, which sends a tingle up the legs of influential critics and jazz fans alike. He also wears a distinctive cap. A Philadelphia native, Rosenwinkel establishes a metaphysical connection to his compositions for his double album, Star Of Jupiter, his 10th album as a leader and at 42, a major accomplishment and statement on the possibilities of the music. It’s also his most commercial effort yet. Rosenwinkel, on the album: “Being able to vamp on a simple progression for a long time…” he says, “I’ve never had a band that really wanted to do that and I love the fact that that’s something we do… immerse into and experience that warmth of the groove.”

He returns to a quartet format on “Jupiter” for the first time since “The Next Step” (2001) and his tight, stellar band features pianist Aaron Parks (who’s played with the guitarist on his live dates at the Village Vanguard,) bassist Eric Revis and fellow Philadelphia native, drummer Justin Faulkner. Revis and Faulkner are also part of Branford Marsalis’s quartet, but their work here is transformative and no less inventive. “Star of Jupiter” is the most experiential of Rosenwinkel’s albums. After the angst and release of the fiery opener, “Gamma Band,” the album settles on celestial rhythms and calmer environs that are both beautiful and mysterious. Melodic gems abound -- “Welcome Home” pulses with warm electronic piano, “Something Sometime” soars with indelible guitar playing, “Heavenly Bodies” is an ethereal ballad with a midnight groove – all on disc one. “Kurt 1” places Rosenwinkel in Pat Metheny terrain but retains its originality with its compact melody and riffs on its groove. “Under It All” is another expansive and lovely ballad, while “Déjà vu” mixes things up with a straight-ahead vibe. The set closes with the title track, a pop inflected tune that is streaked with lush harmonics and Latinesque rhythms.

Each of Rosenwinkel’s albums, even those where he collaborated with Q-Tip of A Tribe called Quest, have their merits but the guitarist has invested “Stars” with a cosmic consciousness that rises above anything he’s done previously. Rosenwinkel has his own defined sound and signature vamps and works them into a cohesive, confident statement. “Star Of Jupiter” is a superior and highly involving album, jazz or otherwise. Self-released, you buy or download “Star Of Jupiter” at www.kurtrosenwinkel.com (12 tracks; 42:52 / 48:47 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: KURT ROSENWINKEL, STAR OF JUPITER

Monday, January 7, 2013

KURT ROSENWINKEL, STAR OF JUPITER


The modern guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has that suggestive aura of coolness that’s embodied by only a handful of jazz musicians. It’s neither deliberate nor studied – it just is and it comes from his playing, which sends a tingle up the legs of influential critics and jazz fans alike. He also wears a distinctive cap. A Philadelphia native, Rosenwinkel establishes a metaphysical connection to his compositions for his double album, Star Of Jupiter, his 10th album as a leader and at 42, a major accomplishment and statement on the possibilities of the music. It’s also his most commercial effort yet. Rosenwinkel, on the album: “Being able to vamp on a simple progression for a long time…” he says, “I’ve never had a band that really wanted to do that and I love the fact that that’s something we do… immerse into and experience that warmth of the groove.”

He returns to a quartet format on “Jupiter” for the first time since “The Next Step” (2001) and his tight, stellar band features pianist Aaron Parks (who’s played with the guitarist on his live dates at the Village Vanguard,) bassist Eric Revis and fellow Philadelphia native, drummer Justin Faulkner. Revis and Faulkner are also part of Branford Marsalis’s quartet, but their work here is transformative and no less inventive. “Star of Jupiter” is the most experiential of Rosenwinkel’s albums. After the angst and release of the fiery opener, “Gamma Band,” the album settles on celestial rhythms and calmer environs that are both beautiful and mysterious. Melodic gems abound -- “Welcome Home” pulses with warm electronic piano, “Something Sometime” soars with indelible guitar playing, “Heavenly Bodies” is an ethereal ballad with a midnight groove – all on disc one. “Kurt 1” places Rosenwinkel in Pat Metheny terrain but retains its originality with its compact melody and riffs on its groove. “Under It All” is another expansive and lovely ballad, while “Déjà vu” mixes things up with a straight-ahead vibe. The set closes with the title track, a pop inflected tune that is streaked with lush harmonics and Latinesque rhythms.

Each of Rosenwinkel’s albums, even those where he collaborated with Q-Tip of A Tribe called Quest, have their merits but the guitarist has invested “Stars” with a cosmic consciousness that rises above anything he’s done previously. Rosenwinkel has his own defined sound and signature vamps and works them into a cohesive, confident statement. “Star Of Jupiter” is a superior and highly involving album, jazz or otherwise. Self-released, you buy or download “Star Of Jupiter” at www.kurtrosenwinkel.com (12 tracks; 42:52 / 48:47 minutes)

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