Kurt Rosenwinkel: The Cloister


The Cloister


Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar)


Deep Song (Verve 000392802)

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Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Joshua Redman (tenor sax), Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Ali Jackson (drums).

Composed by Kurt Rosenwinkel


Recorded: New York, late 2004


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Mellow and meditative, this tune is surprisingly engaging even though its tempo rides introspectively upon a new wave groove. That is not to say that the entire affair can be considered "new wave"; Rosenwinkel takes his cues from both fusion-era sounds and the "cool" jazz school of the Fifties that signaled the last gasp of tried-and-true traditionalism within the genre. Rosenwinkel plays electric guitar, and therein lies its only true link to the more modern sound that usually typifies jazz sprinkled by the tones of his instrument of choice. The influence of Pat Metheny is heavy, yet the symphonic sound of the motifs-performed in tandem by the ensemble-sounds more like some of what appeared on early Miles Davis classics like Birth of the Cool (sans the guitar solos, of course).

Consistent with the overall approach is Rosenwinkel's playing, which, here, is fierce, yet square, as his insistence on dwelling within the defined borders (instead of venturing outside of them like players such as Larry Coryell) adds congruity.

The structure and sounds of "The Cloister" are familiar. Yet they are pleasing to the ear and can teach quite a bit to jazz enthusiasts about the importance of keeping things simple sometimes.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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