Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio

Article excerpt

Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio. Reflections. Word of Mouth Music WOM0002, 2009.

Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has made quite a name for himself since dropping out of the Berklee School of Music to tour with vibraphonist Gary Burton in the early 1990s. On this trio outing, featuring bassist Eric Revis and drummer Eric Harland, he dives deep into the jazz standards repertoire, focusing on ballads and midtempo selections. The best way to experience this album is to listen to it, then immediately listen again. The title track is a gently contemplative interpretation of Thelonious Monk's wonderful tune, stretched out over nine minutes, during which Rosenwinkel nudges the piece in a variety of different harmonic and rhythmic directions before taking it out at a comfortable walking pace. Upon second listen, however, his phrasing and note choices blossom into an articulate commentary on Monk's notoriously idiosyncratic piano style. Rosenwinkel's take on "You Go to My Head" is similarly quiet, introspective, and insightful. The group's performance of the Wayne Shorter composition "Fall" is curiously bloodless, and Harland's drumming is particularly (and curiously) tedious, built on a largely unchanging and rather clunky rhythmic pattern; it is interesting that the drummer's relentlessly plodding right foot is much more effective on "Ask Me Now," where its metronomic insistence plays against Rosenwinkel's slippery lead lines before slipping into double time to support Revis's solo. …