On Kurt RosenwinkelвЂ™s Reflections, the innovative and iconic guitarist isnвЂ™t playing any tricks. The melodic phrases are even and tuneful, the harmonies are familiar, and the rhythmic underpinnings and formal architecture are simple and subtle. But, despite a barefaced lack of complexity, Reflections is one of the most exciting albums of the year.
Unlike The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard, RosenwinkelвЂ™s previous album featuring genre-defying originals, Reflections contains almost exclusively standard jazz tunes. In a trio including bassist Eric Revis and drummer Eric Harland, Rosenwinkel hits upon a beautiful intersection of progression and tradition. The freshness comes from the guitaristвЂ™s unconventional (but now ubiquitous) style. The warmth and familiarity is due to the straightforward and easy presentation.
A melancholia permeates the album, which consists mainly of ballads, including вЂњYouвЂ™ve Changed,вЂ� вЂњMore Than You Know,вЂ� вЂњYou Go to My Head,вЂ� which were all written before 1942, and вЂњEast Coast Love Affair,вЂ� the discвЂ™s one original tune (although it has the feel of a standard).
Two Thelonious Monk tunes are perhaps the highlights of the recording. вЂњReflectionsвЂ� begins and ends with celestial and yet quirky solo guitar musings. вЂњAsk Me NowвЂ� combines a jaunty bounce with an air of veiled wistfulness. Although not formally a blues, the track captures that hard-to-define blues sentiment that makes great jazz what it is.
Two works by Wayne Shorter provide contrast from the predominant swing feels of the album. вЂњFallвЂ� is played with a nonchalant hip hop beat with feint disco undertones. Along with вЂњAna Maria,вЂ� which has a bossa nova vibe, these pieces provide the most overtly modern harmonic content.
Reflections will please just about any listener. ItвЂ™s simplicity and conventional approach will endear it to people who love jazz for its songs and its deep tradition, and progressive jazz fans will be pleased by the way Rosenwinkel retains his distinctive style in a long-established setting. Personnel:
Kurt Rosenwinkel вЂ“ Guitar
Eric Revis вЂ“ Bass
Eric Harland вЂ“ Drums
2.You Go To My Head
4.East Coast Love Affair
5.Ask Me Now
7.More Than You Know
/ Hotfile @ 320K