Following a string of three acclaimed recordings for Verve Records that firmly established him as one of the most strikingly original new voices in jazz as both guitarist and composer (2000’s The Enemies of Energy, 2001’s The Next Step and 2003’s Heartcore), Kurt Rosenwinkel returns with an all-star outing that is perhaps his most luminous and accessible to date. Joined by his high-profile colleagues Brad Mehldau on piano and Joshua Redman on tenor sax, along with Larry Grenadier on bass and either Ali Jackson or longtime associate Jeff Ballard on drums, Rosenwinkel plumbs the depths of emotion and lyricism on Deep Song.
From dynamic new renditions of older compositions like the chops-busting “Synthetics” (from The Enemies of Energy) or the gentle and evocative “Use of Light” (from The Next Step) to hauntingly beautiful interpretations of the standard “If I Should Lose You” and the melancholy Billie Holiday vehicle “Deep Song, ”Rosenwinkel unleashes his typically cascading, sonorous guitar lines with newfound authority. “I feel like as a guitarist I really got to a place of expressive maturity on this record,” says the Philadelphia native, who currently resides in Zurich, Switzerland, “so I’m really happy about that.”
Also included in the 74-minute program are new or previously unissued Rosenwinkel originals like “Cake” (based on George Gershwin’s “Let Them Eat Cake”), “Gesture Lester” (an homage to his pianist father), “The Cloister,” “Brooklyn Sometimes” and “The Cross,” each rendered with masterful aplomb by Kurt and company. “The title of this album perfectly expresses where I’m coming from in my approach to jazz,” says the guitarist- composer- bandleader. “The music that I love always had that quality to it. From Billie Holiday to Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, Miles Davis and Bill Evans...there’s always a deep sense of song to it. That’s a quality that I feel can be very lacking in today’s jazz that’s being made. But the music on this album was approached from those aesthetic values of deep song that we all share in the band. And that’s why I called the record Deep Song. Because that concept, that approach to music is the most basic, fundamental place from which I feel we’re all playing music.”