Kurt Rosenwinkel | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Kurt Rosenwinkel 

When: Thu., Oct. 15, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Oct. 16, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., Oct. 17, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 18, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2009
Price: $20
The dominant jazz guitarist of his generation, Kurt Rosenwinkel has a distinctive harmonic sensibility that's intextricably bound to both his quiet virtuosity and his dense, multidirectional compositions—it's hard to imagine anybody else playing his material from last year's The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard (ArtistShare) without radically altering the architectural lyricism at its heart. With the forthcoming Standards Trio: Reflections (Word of Mouth Music), though, Rosenwinkel proves that he can imbue standards with that same essence. On ballads he shapes his solos like a sculptor, using plenty of chords to give his improvisations a three-dimensional feel, and on the enigmatic "Fall" (a tune Wayne Shorter brought to the Miles Davis Quintet) he executes a deft one-man simulation of a quintet performance, flipping continually between resonant single-note phrases and the kind of elaborations on the melody that the rest of the front line might play behind the soloist. The guitarist's holistic approach is best demonstrated by his performance on "East Coast Love Affair" (the lone original piece, it's a Rosenwinkel standard, appearing on his debut album in 1996 and regularly in his sets thereafter). He seems to bridge every statement and gesture with spindly clusters, but nothing ever sounds superfluous or perfunctory—every note is either making a point or connecting two others. He's joined by bassist Ben Street and drummer Rodney Green for this four-night stand. —Peter Margasak


4.6 out of 5

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