Kurt Rosenwinkel performs at the Village Vanguard. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Kurt Rosenwinkel performs at the Village Vanguard.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet in Concert at the Village Vanguard - 01/07/2009

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98982233/99123738" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Among his generation of jazz musicians, Kurt Rosenwinkel has to be the most beloved guitarist. Chalk it up to his originality: He's set trends among his peers with ideas about harmony and form, and he's created an easily recognizable playing style on an instrument where individuality is rare in mainstream jazz. Nearly two years after making his latest recording live at the Village Vanguard (the two-disc set The Remedy), he returned to the scene of the crime. The Kurt Rosenwinkel quartet played the Vanguard in a live broadcast, heard on air at WBGO and online at NPR Music, and available for download on this page. (The second, unaired set is also available for streaming and download.)

The night was filled with precise, urgent modern jazz. Rosenwinkel chose nearly all originals (the one exception being a tune from his pianist Aaron Parks' latest album), leaving plenty of time for long solo narratives and changing rhythm-section interplay. Some swung mightily ("Our Secret World," "Zhivago"), while others were more open and slower to develop ("Path of the Heart" and a new, untitled number).

And when he took his own turn, he played expansive solos, awash in legato fluidity and accented by the occasional distortion, slight overdrive or sustain effect. During the soundcheck, he set up several effects pedals, and then got up: "You know, after all this, it still sounds like a guitar," he said.

Rosenwinkel had a different band with him than he did on The Remedy; he lost longtime collaborator Mark Turner, temporarily sidelined by an injury, but he does pick up a new rhythm section. Pianist Aaron Parks is at the tip of critics' tongues after his new record surfaced on many year-end Top 10 lists; veteran bassist Ben Street has played with Rosenwinkel for many years; and Kendrick Scott has spent the last few years founding his own record label when not playing with Terence Blanchard or his own group.

Raised in jazz-rich Philadelphia, Rosenwinkel studied at Berklee College of Music at a time when many of today's leading jazz lights were his classmates. But he dropped out to tour with vibraphonist Gary Burton, at the time the school's dean. Not long afterward, Rosenwinkel moved to New York, where he quickly established a reputation as a distinctive voice on his instrument. Toward the end of the '90s, he became one of the few mainstream jazz artists signed to a major label, eventually recording four albums for Verve Records.

Though now living in Berlin and distributing his music under the ArtistShare business model, Rosenwinkel still plays several New York gigs every year. In fact, in light of his new recording, his reputation at the Vanguard may loom as large as ever. Most recently, he played the Vanguard with Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band in June 2008 — another concert broadcast and archived by NPR Music and WBGO.

Set List
  • "Our Secret World" (Rosenwinkel)
  • "Peaceful Warrior" (Parks)
  • "A Shifting Design" (Rosenwinkel)
  • "Path of the Heart" (Rosenwinkel)
  • "Untitled [New]" (Rosenwinkel)
  • "Zhivago" (Rosenwinkel)
Personnel
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel, guitar
  • Aaron Parks, piano
  • Ben Street, bass
  • Kendrick Scott, drums
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Josh Webb, recording assistant
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Meredith D'Ambrosio appears on the cover of her 1981 album Another Time. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

The vocalist, pianist, visual artist and teacher joined Marian McPartland in 1994.

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504133599/504135813" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lonnie Liston Smith on the cover of Astral Traveling (1973). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Lonnie Liston Smith On Piano Jazz

One of contemporary music's most versatile keyboardists, Smith joined Marian McPartland in 2002.

Lonnie Liston Smith In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/503335536/503336370" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nellie Lutcher. William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist and pianist play her original tunes "Hurry On Down" and "Real Gone Guy."

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/502487319/502603441" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Richard "Dick" Sudhalter appears on the cover of The Classic Jazz Quartet: The Complete Recordings. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Richard Sudhalter On Piano Jazz

The cornetist and critic performs "Chasing Shadows" with Marian McPartland in a 1992 session.

Richard Sudhalter On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/501714165/501719238" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Billy Strayhorn (right), spent the majority of his career as a composer and arranger for Duke Ellington (left) and his orchestra. David Redfern/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption David Redfern/Getty Images

Jazz Night In America

The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

He was remarkable not only for his music, but for living as an openly gay black man in the '40s.

The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/500504682/500512491" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jackie Cain and Roy Kral at the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay, Calif., in 1982. Brian McMillen/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Brian McMillen/Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jackie And Roy On Piano Jazz

Hear the husband-and-wife duo join Marian McPartland for a trio version of "Joy Spring."

Jackie And Roy On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/497936484/497939089" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Oliver Jones. Michael Slobodian/Michael Slobodian hide caption

toggle caption Michael Slobodian/Michael Slobodian

Jazz Night In America

Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

In Canada, jazz pianist Oliver Jones is a hero, adored in his native Quebec and across the country.

Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/497793760/497806357" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Chucho Valdés. Elmer Martinez/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Elmer Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Chucho Valdés On Piano Jazz

Hear the innovator in Latin jazz play his original compositions "Claudia" and "Mambo Influenciado."

Chucho Valdés On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496891193/497008290" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top