Kurt Rosenwinkel / Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio


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Reflections is an album unlike any other in Kurt Rosenwinkel's catalog. Nearly all ballads, it dispenses with effects and other fireworks and allows Rosenwinkel to display pure jazz guitaristry, his tone and performance unencumbered by outside influences and modern distractions. Accompanied only by bassist Eric Revis and drummer Eric Harland, Rosenwinkel keeps the mood soft and, appropriately, reflective on a set of nuggets from jazz giants (Haven Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk), the Great American Songbook ("More Than You Know," "You've Changed"), and his own debut album: a remake of "East Coast Love Affair" from the same-named 1996 release. As always, Rosenwinkel's virtuosity and intellect are on full display. The title track, an easygoing stroll through Monk's "Reflections," opens the program and sets the mood: Rosenwinkel's guitar is fluid and confident, airy and free of tension. He and the trio are in no hurry to get anywhere; there is nothing to prove, no need to cram in extraneous notes (not that the ever-judicious Rosenwinkel falls into that camp anyway). Shorter's "Ana Maria" and "Fall" are about as uptempo as things get here, and the former's a bossa nova, the latter a chill take on funk. Even the lone original tune undergoes a transformation, losing the edge that marked its first incarnation in favor of a stripped-down simplicity that befits its creator's maturation as a player. A gracefulness and stateliness pervade Reflections, and one can only hope that Rosenwinkel will revisit this territory again down the line, to provide another reevaluation of his gifts after he's investigated still other realms.

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