New York Times reviews “Star of Jupiter”

New York Times reviewed Kurt Rosenwinkel “Star of Jupiter” on Tuesday  Nov. 20, 2012. The review was written by Nate Chinen and appeared in the arts section of the newspaper, alongside reviews of the artists Pitbull and Keyshia Cole. We’ve typed out the review below, but you can find a link to the original post online by clicking here. Please go to the original article and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and wherever else you can!

Here follows the review:

“Star of Jupiter” Kurt Rosenwinkel’s grippingly self-assured new double album, begins and ends with a show of radiance. On both the opening the opening track, “Gamma Band”, and the title track, which wraps things up, Mr. Rosenwinkel processes his guitar so that it seems to flood the picture with fluorescence.

Rhythmically, he leans on urgent repetition and the plunging momentum of his band, working with rhythms traceable to one or another variant of fusion. The two compositions bracket the album almost as a kind of armor, protecting the softer and more vulnerable materials within.

Mr. Rosenwinkel, 42, has always been a jazz guitarist of glowing lyricism and graceful exposition, with a technique that can form streamlined contours out of even the gnarliest convolutions. His aesthetic compass hasn’t really changed since the release of his major-label debut, “Enemies of Energy”, a dozen years ago. But as Mr. Rosenwinkel has grown in stature, becoming a lodestar within the modern jazz conservatory, he has kept renewing the challenge, diversifying his repertory or concept or personnel.

Over the last few years his leading outlet has been a group he calls the Standards Trio, with an implicit nod to Keith Jarrett. “Reflections”, his superb 2009 studio album, involved one edition of this band; another, more recent edition featured the bassist Eric Revis and the drummer Justin Faulkner, who formed their sturdy support within the Branford Marsalis Quartet. It’s on this base that Mr. Rosenwinkel built “Star of Jupiter”, adding a crucial semiregular collaborator, the pianist Aaron Parks.

This quartet brings shadowy finesse to an admirable range of original compositions, 12 of them spread across the two discs, including “Under it All”, Mr. Rosenwinkel’s airy version of a pop-gospel ballad; Homage A’Mitch”, a slinky hard-bop tune; “Something, Sometime”, a post-bop waltz with a peekaboo melodic cadence; and “Deja Vu”, which reconfirms a fondness for the modal incantations of McCoy Tyner. (One older tune, “A Shifting Design”, establishes continuity with Mr. Rosenwinkel’s earlier career).

Most of these pieces are grounded in deep groove and willfully uncomplicated melody, and the band unpacks them with granite conviction. Mr. Rosenwinkel has rarely found an earthier home for his otherworldly tone, and the combination imbues this album with an attractive humility, once you’ve managed atmospheric entry.

- Nate Chinen


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