Kurt Rosenwinkel performs at the Village Vanguard. i

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.

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

Rose Murphy. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Rose Murphy On Piano Jazz

Hear the singer and pianist perform "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" in a 1988 session.

Rose Murphy In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476137289/476145176" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Carlos Henriquez in The Bronx. Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The bassist spends a lot of time in Manhattan for Jazz at Lincoln Center, but his roots are uptown.

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476077535/476086613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ayako Shirasaki. Patrick Wamsganz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Wamsganz/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Ayako Shirasaki On Piano Jazz

Hear the Japanese pianist perform her compositions "Falling Leaves" and "Far Away."

Ayako Shirasaki In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/474388065/474390434" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Barbara Lea on the cover of A Woman In Love + Barbara Lea + Lea In Love. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Barbara Lea On Piano Jazz

The respected vocalist joins Marian McPartland for a tribute to songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.

Barbara Lea In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/473497507/473504650" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Paul Bley. Hans Kumpf/Courtesy of ECM Records hide caption

toggle caption Hans Kumpf/Courtesy of ECM Records

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Paul Bley On Piano Jazz

The avant-garde pianist performed original motifs and a free duet with Marian McPartland in 2000.

Paul Bley In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/472695170/472696689" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marian McPartland. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

The Music Of Marian McPartland On Piano Jazz

Hear McPartland's compositions performed by Sarah Vaughan, Cleo Laine and more.

The Music Of Marian McPartland
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/471849097/471851264" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Harold Mabern. Gabe Palacio/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Gabe Palacio/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Harold Mabern On Piano Jazz

McPartland caught the Memphis-born pianist for a session just before he left for a 1991 Japan tour.

Harold Mabern In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/470957914/470960257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top