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How Do You Know When It's Kurt Playing?

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  1. bingefeller
    Member

    Hey guys,

    Just wondering if anyone has picked up on anything that Kurt does that makes him instant recognisable as a player? For example, does he play certain arpeggios over certain chords? Does he use certain scales?

    Thanks in advance for any info.

  2. Neither
    Member

    At first his personal time feel. But it's difficult to explain it with words. Maybe the fact he sings exactly what he plays (excepted the chords : he only sings one voice ! ) and his personal sound (with reverb and delay). For the material he uses, the intrication of single lines and chords. You can notice some "licks", for example, he often uses parallel triadic lines, or one note followed by 2 successives 1/2 tones and back to the first note (longer than the others)... and a lot of other things I can't list here. He uses more repeated notes in his solo lines than most of the guitar players that I know. He often plays pentatonic lines...
    To resume : nobody sounds like him and he sounds like nobody.

  3. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    I find that when he doesn't sing I can't recognize him instantly as easily. But one thing's for sure, he doesn't sound traditional, like Bernstein or Wes or Burrell for example. He has a modern tone, and a modern sense of melody, so maybe that's what sets him apart.

  4. bingefeller
    Member

    Neither - What are parallel triad lines?

    Yes, Jorge, his playing is very modern sounding! That's why I like him so much - he's modern and still sounds melodic and exciting.

  5. Sandemose
    Member

    For me its a sound thing, the dark wet sound of reverb and delay gives it away pretty much. I think that I hear if a song is written by Kurt quite fast/easily. His touch is very recognizable, his powerful left hand (sometimes you hear the "snapping" sound of the fingers when they hit the frets). I think I can hear by his chordal movement if its Kurt, long full chords sometimes with open strings, his use of chords when playing melody/improvising, using the pick rather than hybrid picking...? I can go on like this all day...

    Best, Sandemose

  6. Neither
    Member

    parallel triad lines (approximation of what I hear as I can express it in my english) : listen to Cake (on Deep Song) at 4:15, Our Secret World (on Heartcore) at 2:42, How Deep is the Ocean (Intuit) at 2:05, Darn That Dream (Idem) at 3:27, for some exemples.
    It's very difficult for me to say what makes Kurt Rosenwinkel distinctive, but I can recognise him every time I hear him. It's a very interesting topic. If someone can describe him better, we need his help... (how to describe his time feel for example ?)

  7. jazznan
    Member

    He sounds like an "intergalactic time traveling cat", a "sophisticated, get-down, hipster", an "out of this world 21st Century swing machine", "jive brotha jive", can you dig it?

  8. Lasse S
    Member

    Kurt's playing is so hard to describe. Member Neither described it very well, "nobody sounds like him and he sounds like nobody." I'm a drummer so i can't comment on his guitar technique, but i think Bill Frisell quote about Kurt says alot, “There’s this kind of fluidity and architecture in the lines that he plays that I don’t think I’ve heard anybody else do. There’s a mystery in it to me".

    One thing i love for sure is his chordal movement, which i pretty clear in this version of Zhivago around 8:20-8:30 (to ACT and K: hope it's cool) - this is one of my favorite solos, and Chris Cheek on tenor sax nails it as well.. Enjoy folks:
    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VL5WITJ

  9. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Hey, the link is not available? A little off topic but I always wanted to hear Chris Cheek play in Kurts band (I love what Kurt does on "Vine" and "I Wish I Knew" is my favorite standards disc ever made). For me Chris is the most underrated player in the jazz scene, he is as amazing improviser (never sounds like a saxophonist) and composer.

    About Kurt I think its basically is sounds - not only the delay and reverb thing which is used a lot but the whole sound he can create with the guitar. No other guitar player has that sound.

  10. Brendan
    Member

    To me, Kurts time style seems very (intuit)ive. There is a whole system of second nature muscle memory combined with very unique micro subdivisions of rhythmic pattern.

    also I can only imagine when you get to Kurts level of musical understanding that there are many 'trigger' points in different precussionists styles that manipulate how he interacts musically.

    His playing obviously reflects piano as one of his primary instruments I believe. I think this contributes to the environment hes able to create rhythmicly and harmonicly.

    Like many of you have described, his playing is modern...its wonderful to let my imagination try to subconciously compare some quotations of his phrasing to synthetic more contemporary approaches that we find in popular music today....but as this whole forum probably agrees, there isnt much of anything around that sounds like him.

  11. bingefeller
    Member

    You know something guys, I really wish that Kurt would bring out a book or DVD detailing his approach to guitar playing and also giving an insight into his gear. :-)

  12. jazznan
    Member

    Yeah, I wish Kurt would put out an instructional/insight DVD....not holding my breath, kind of like Metheny, he's never done one either


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