• Live Blog: Kurt Rosenwinkel at Village Vanguard 1.7.09

    January 7, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Kurt Rosenwinkel Onstage at the Village Vanguard
    See some photos.

    Listen to the show on NPR.
    Check out the bonus audio.

    I arrived at the Village Vanguard at 6pm this evening.  Kurt was already onstage "shredding," as he called it.  The guitarist is acutely dedicated to his craft and his sound.  He played alone for nearly two hours.  I could actually hear him processing each note.

    Drummer Kendrick Scott just arrived.  He's backstage hitting the practice pad.  For a moment, he laid down his sticks.  On them, he wrote, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace."  He says it's from the Peace Prayer of St. Francis (of Assisi).

    The band's all here.  Hail, hail.

    A Rosenwinkel original, "Our Secret World," kicks off the show.   Everyone on the band spent plenty of time warming up, so they should be ready.

    This is quite a quartet of young modernists.  Pianist Aaron Parks' "Peaceful Warrior" is such a beautiful composition.  And these guys like to play it...

    Nice to hear these four swing in that traditional feel.  Listen closely, and you might figure out why this song is called "A Shifting Design."

    Beautiful ballad that just wafts in the air.  Kurt had a lovely guitar intro.  Aaron and Kurt manage to play well as two strong chordal instrumentalists.  Not easy to do.

    The song is called "Path of the Heart," by the way.

    New music debuts on our live concert from the Village Vanguard.  "Untitled" from Kurt Rosenwinkel.

    Killing through Kurt's "Zhivago" to close the set.  Rock it, baby!

  • An Hour Dedicated to Freddie Hubbard

    January 7, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Freddie Hubbard

    Freddie hubbard died on December 29th from complications after a heart attack.  He was 70.  As the world mourns the loss of the phenomenal musician, radio stations that stretch the globe -- including WBGO -- celebrate his memory.  If you missed our special Freddie Hubbard hour broadcast -- with drummer Kenny Washington, pianist Cedar Walton, trumpeters David Weiss and Roy Hargrove -- you can click here to listen on-demand.  You won't be disappointed.  It features two exclusive WBGO interviews with the trumpet master, including his very last media date with WBGO's Awilda Rivera. - Simon Rentner

  • Kurt Rosenwinkel: Live At The Village Vanguard

    January 7, 2009. Posted by WBGO.

    Kurt Rosenwinkel. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    Among his generation of jazz musicians, Kurt Rosenwinkel has to be the most beloved guitarist. Chalk it up to his originality: He's set trends among his peers with ideas about harmony and form, and he's created an easily recognizable playing style on an instrument where individuality is rare in mainstream jazz. Nearly two years after making his latest recording live at the Village Vanguard (the two-disc set The Remedy), he returned to the scene of the crime. The Kurt Rosenwinkel quartet played the Vanguard in a live broadcast, heard on air at WBGO and online at NPR Music, and available for download on this page. (The second, unaired set is also available for streaming and download.)

    The night was filled with precise, urgent modern jazz. Rosenwinkel chose nearly all originals (the one exception being a tune from his pianist Aaron Parks' latest album), leaving plenty of time for long solo narratives and changing rhythm-section interplay. Some swung mightily ("Our Secret World," "Zhivago"), while others were more open and slower to develop ("Path of the Heart" and a new, untitled number).

    And when he took his own turn, he played expansive solos, awash in legato fluidity and accented by the occasional distortion, slight overdrive or sustain effect. During the soundcheck, he set up several effects pedals, and then got up: "You know, after all this, it still sounds like a guitar," he said.

    Rosenwinkel had a different band with him than he did on The Remedy; he lost longtime collaborator Mark Turner, temporarily sidelined by an injury, but he does pick up a new rhythm section. Pianist Aaron Parks is at the tip of critics' tongues after his new record surfaced on many year-end Top 10 lists; veteran bassist Ben Street has played with Rosenwinkel for many years; and Kendrick Scott has spent the last few years founding his own record label when not playing with Terence Blanchard or his own group.

    Raised in jazz-rich Philadelphia, Rosenwinkel studied at Berklee College of Music at a time when many of today's leading jazz lights were his classmates. But he dropped out to tour with vibraphonist Gary Burton, at the time the school's dean. Not long afterward, Rosenwinkel moved to New York, where he quickly established a reputation as a distinctive voice on his instrument. Toward the end of the '90s, he became one of the few mainstream jazz artists signed to a major label, eventually recording four albums for Verve Records.

    Though now living in Berlin and distributing his music under the ArtistShare business model, Rosenwinkel still plays several New York gigs every year. In fact, in light of his new recording, his reputation at the Vanguard may loom as large as ever. Most recently, he played the Vanguard with Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band in June 2008 — another concert broadcast and archived by NPR Music and WBGO.

    Set List

    • "Our Secret World" (Rosenwinkel)
    • "Peaceful Warrior" (Parks)
    • "A Shifting Design" (Rosenwinkel)
    • "Path of the Heart" (Rosenwinkel)
    • "Untitled [New]" (Rosenwinkel)
    • "Zhivago" (Rosenwinkel)


    • Kurt Rosenwinkel, guitar
    • Aaron Parks, piano
    • Ben Street, bass
    • Kendrick Scott, drums


    • Josh Jackson, producer and host
    • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
    • Josh Webb, recording assistant
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel: Village Vanguard Bonus Content

    January 7, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Kurt Rosenwinkel Backstage at the Village Vanguard
    WBGO is presenting Kurt Rosenwinkel live at the Village Vanguard tonight.  If you listen to the NPR Music Player before the show, you would discover this interview and solo performance I did with Kurt last year.  You can also hear some of the content separately.  Here's a random access sample of Kurt Rosenwinkel's digital music.  Kurt also talked On the Record about some important sessions that he did NOT lead.
    After the show is over, we'll be offering Kurt's Live at the Village Vanguard performance as a podcast.  A pretty revolutionary and completely experimental concept for jazz, right?  Our idea caught the attention of Toronto blogger Peter Hum, who wrote about tonight's show in Thriving on a Riff.

  • Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel's electronics

    January 6, 2009. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Kurt Rosenwinkle electronics

    We're soundchecking Kurt Rosenwinkel at the Village Vanguard for his live broadcast tomorrow on WBGO and NPR Music.org. I think he brought in just as much gear as we did to record him! He got everything connected then stood up and commented, "you know, after all this, it still sounds like a guitar." A great one at that. Join us tomorrow night, 9pm EST. And afterward, you can download the set. Stay tuned.