Wednesday, Feb 20
Although one of the most emotive interpreters of standards repertoire, Rosenwinkel is also undoubtedly one of his generation’s most prolific composers. The National Endowment for the Arts Composer’s Award winner asserts that it is his writing which helped develop what has now become a singular voice in modern jazz. He also credits his Philadelphia hometown for a solid and communal musical upbringing, where he grew up in the midst of a robust music scene under the tutelage of inï¬‚uential jazz elders like Al Jackson, Eddie Green, Tyrone Brown, and his musical father figure, alto saxophonist Tony Williams. It’s here that he had the platform to develop his distinctive voice, which has garnered international critical acclaim, and attention from such wide-ranging artists as Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots, the legendary Eric Clapton, and Q-Tip formally of the iconic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, with whom Rosenwinkel has been featured both live and on his highly regarded solo efforts, The Renaissance (2008) and Kamaal the Abstract (2009). (The renowned rapper also co-produced Rosenwinkel’s exploratory 2003 release, Heartcore.) “I can’t really control what comes out of me, compositionally speaking,” says Rosenwinkel. “In fact, it’s kind of like I’m discovering things that are already there when I’m writing so the process of composition is more about having a blank slate in my mind and then seeing what comes and then discovering things. I feel like it’s less of a function of will than it is a function of just listening.”
A truly transcendental outing, Rosenwinkel doesn’t abandon the tradition which threads his playing and established his resonant foundation. Songs like the gloriously swinging “A Shifting Design” and “Mr. Hope” present a nexus of earthiness amidst etherealness, with Parks delivering a delightfully Monk-ish solo on the latter; an homage to the unsung bebop pianist Elmo Hope. “Homage a’ Mitch” is another bow to his deep bebop roots as embodied by Mitch Borden, who owned Smalls jazz club in New York City’s West Village throughout the '90s where Rosenwinkel’s bands played a major role in the now legendary scene.
Rosenwinkel has continuously taken gallant steps in his artistry, and now, with Star of Jupiter (WOMMUSIC/2012), articulates his vision on the deepest level yet. Irrefutably the most influential jazz guitarist of the new millennium, Rosenwinkel is steering the ship on a journey which encompasses more than an adept mastery of his instrument. Star of Jupiter is an experience; an opportunity for listeners to hear in the music, their own dreams.