Monday, November 30, 2009

Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio - Reflections (Word of Mouth Records, 2009)

After working in a highly regarded quartet setting for a number of years, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel tried a different approach on his latest recording, releasing a collection of ballads from the standard repertoire. This album was recorded during late June, 2009 in Brooklyn featuring Eric Revis on bass and Eric Harland on drums. Thelonious Monk's "Reflections" opens the album with a lengthy exploration of the tune, takes at a nice gentle mid-tempo, with patient bass and brushes. Rosenwinkel has a beautiful, full round guitar tone and uses it like a painter adding just the right amount of pigment that the situation calls for. After a thick bass solo, the full band comes back in nice and easy to take things out. "You Go To My Head" is gentle with guitar accents and ornaments filling things out. Wayne Shorter's “Fall” has softly funky drums and bass, liquid toned guitar, grounded by solid bass for a glistening performance that is one of the highlights of the album. He sneaks in one of his own compositions, "East Coast Love Affair" which has an unaccompanied solo guitar opening, and a dexterous bass solo. "Ask Me Now" returns to Monk gentle and calm guitar, nice loping bass and drums for a mildly swinging trio performance. "Anna Maria" is another highlight, where the band picks up the pace with an insistent and propulsive groove, and has nice soulful execution. "More Than You Know" has a darker hued opening, with wistful and calm improvisation followed by a supple bass solo. "You’ve Changed" wraps up with a short mellow full band performance. Rosenwinkel takes things out with a patient round toned solo. The standard repertoire still offers challenges and opportunities for musicians who are willing to look at the material in a new way. This was a successful project that yielded enjoyable and thoughtful music. Hopefully they will follow up with a second volume shortly, an all - Monk program would be a joy to hear, considering their affinity with the material.
Reflections - Wommusic Records

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