One of today’s most forward-thinking jazz guitarists, Kurt Rosenwinkel avoids technical peacock displays and meaningless virtuosity on Reflections, his first standards album in a decade. His considerable facility is channeled instead into harmonic invention (nary a blues lick in sight) and tastefully filling the spaces left by the sparse but effective trio setting. Accordingly, each song is a chordal masterpiece, with Rosenwinkel painting subtle, elegantly dissonant tones over the songs’ frameworks. Highlights include the restrained funkiness of Wayne Shorter’s “Fall”, the extended dreaminess of the lone Rosenwinkel original, “East Coast Love Affair”, and the unspeakably gorgeous treatment of “You Go to My Head”, but it’s almost meaningless to pick favorites. The album’s languid, nocturnal vibe might wear thin after 50 minutes, but any individual track is brilliant beyond measure. Fans of music—not just jazz or guitar—owe it to themselves to buy this, for this is the sound of genius at work.
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