"Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"            
Hi! Welcome to my REVIEWS page!

Eclectic Earwig Reviews

Kurt Rosenwinkel, The Enemies of Energy (60:34); 314 543 042-2, 2000
Verve Records (GRP)
Phone: 212-424-1000
Cyberhome: www.vervemusicgroup.com

        The material that would eventually become Kurt Rosenwinkel's Verve 
debut was recorded back in late 1996. Lacking a record deal, 
Rosenwinkel scraped up the money to record his group independently 
and has managed, at long last and through much perseverance, to make 
the results public. So listeners ought to keep in mind that on this 
disc, they're hearing where the young guitar phenom was at over three 
years ago.
	Rosenwinkel has done quite a bit since then. During his 
recent four-day stint at New York's Jazz Standard, many of the 
compositions he played were new. Yet his regular working band, the 
one that appears on the record, was present and accounted for - save 
for drummer Jeff Ballard, who was replaced by the able Eric 
McPherson. To hear the Rosenwinkel group live is to witness the 
awe-inspiring passion and continual growth of enourmously talented 
musical soulmates. To hear the group on record is to hear that 
passion muted ever so slightly.
	Joining Rosenwinkel, Ballard, bassist Ben Street, and 
brilliant tenorist Mark Turner on The Enemies of Energy is 
keyboardist Scott Kinsey, a longtime Scott Henderson associate. 
Kinsey's synth work contributes a fusion-esque feel and tilts the 
record toward overproduction. The same could be said for 
Rosenwinkel's many guitar overdubs. For instance, on "Dream of the 
Old," the album's best cut, Rosenwinkel layers the melody over an 
acoustic guitar rhythm track. In contrast, when he plays this 
beautiful song live at the Standard, the melody stands alone, 
punctuated deftly by chord voicings that anchor important passages 
and fill the empty spaces. The melody sounds hipper without a 
separate harmonic bed. And the whole song speaks with far greater 
immediacy and urgency.
	Rosenwinkel's music lends itself to that kind of live 
immediacy, and The Enemies of Energy is in no way a 
live-sounding piece of work. Its flaws aside, however, the album 
continues to grow on this reviewer with repeated listenings. 
Highlights include the 6/4 funk of "Grant," which Ballard and Street 
romp all over; the rapid modulations of "Cubism," perhaps a 
contemporary answer to Coltrane's "Giant Steps"; the ethereal, 
relaxed "Number Ten," which bears faint traces of Scott Henderson's 
Tribal Tech; the medium fast swing of "Synthetics"; and Rosenwinkel's 
fuzztone solo on the final track, "Hope and Fear." Credit must also 
go to Rosenwinkel for taking a chance on "The Polish Song," a 
marvelously weird track that finds the guitarist singing falsetto in 
some imaginary language - he says he thinks it "might be Polish."
	None of these tunes are constructed as mere blowing vehicles. 
Solos are often brief, framed by arranged ensemble passages. There's 
barely any improvisation at all on the opening title track, as well 
as on "Hope and Fear." The format that predominates on so many jazz 
recordings - head, solo rotation, head, out - is seldom heard on this 
one. Rosenwinkel's intention was to make music that transcended the 
ordinary parameters of jazz, and he's certainly succeeded.
~David R. Adler, 2/3/00

1. The Enemies of Energy
2. Grant
3. Cubism
4. Number Ten
5. The Polish Song
6. Point of View
7. Christmas Song
8. Dream of the Old
9. Synthetics
10. Hope and Fear

Kurt Rosenwinkel, electric and acoustic guitars, 4-string 
stella, voice;
Mark Turner, tenor saxophone;
Scott Kinsey, piano, keyboards;
Ben Street, bass;
Jeff Ballard, drums

To purchase this recording and get more info, soundclips, etc.


OR . . .

Please visit my BUY IT E.E.R. NOW INDEX PAGE
Please try my brand spankin' new

buyer's guide to recommended music.

OR ...
go to my LINKS page and find the vendors' section.
Happy hunting!

Back to MAIN REVIEW list
Back to MEN list
Back to LADIES list
Get outta here and go HOME