Monday, December 14, 2009

HIGH STANDARDS

Kurt, I have to level with you. “Reflections”, your new album, is the only Kurt Rosenwinkel album I own. Some may consider that admission shameful because I'm an experienced jazz journalist and blogger. Jazz has been around over a hundred years, and it not humanly possible to listen to every jazz album made in one live time. I will always be playing catch up. I'm fine with that. I will be constantly discovering old and new jazz album to listen to and that excites me. I've had “Reflections” for a month, and I finally played it last night.

The folks at DL Media, the company that handles publicity for the album, reminded me I promised to review it. Around 8:30am Sunday, I played it. It's 8:00pm Monday and I'm still listening to it. I woke up this morning humming the melody to "Falls, and "As Me Know" two of the eight songs on this album. I'm not familiar with your other recordings yet. "Reflections" made me curious.

I plan to track down some of your other albums, and others you've appeared on as a hired gun. I want to experience you in a larger context. I'm anxious to know how you handle yourself as a sideman. You have a impressive background. You attended Berklee School of Music. You toured with the late tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. You’re a member of the Brian Blade Fellowship. To date, you've played on roughly 53 albums. "Reflections" is your tenth as a leader.

Throughout the album, your soloing was delicious as holiday desserts. I'm sure you have a wild side, but you controlled it. You didn’t mess up the standards you performed. You treated each tenderly and respectfully. "Ana Maria", and obscure Wayne Shorter tune totally relaxed me. Your original "East Coast Love Affair" made me feel cozy all over.

For years, I've listened to bassist Eric Revis swing like a jackhammer with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, but this was the first instance I heard him play so melodically. On Thelonious Monk's ditty "Ask Me Now", Revis fingers dripped down the strings like melted chocolate. Drummer Eric Harland flourishes in any situation he's put in. He was marvelous throughout. Kurt, “Reflection” satisfied my sweet tooth.
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