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The Next Step

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Album Review

Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel takes The Next Step in his creative evolution on eight songs that exude several degrees of great jazz. He succeeds in topping the musical tastes presented on his debut release for the Verve label, The Enemies of Energy. Rosenwinkel is one of many young jazz musicians forging ahead into the new millennium with bold musical steps, and the compositions, all of which he wrote, represent the culmination of many life phases for him. First formed as a guitar-bass-drums trio in 1992, Rosenwinkel's band is now a quartet including Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Ben Street on bass, and Jeff Ballard on drums, all excellent artists in their own right. All four musicians can be heard on The Enemies of Energy, and The Next Step is additional documentation of their relationship as a band. The CD opens with the melodic "Zhivago," a ballad inspired by the imagery of the motion picture Dr. Zhivago. "Minor Blues" is just that — with an up-tempo groove and plenty of room for improvisation; it is especially memorable. Turner's saxophone workout on "A Shifting Design" is spurred on by the great drumming of Ballard and the alternate tuning of Rosenwinkel's guitar. This song opens with a pensive introduction and develops into a swinging, "shifting design" of notes, chords, and great basslines. Ballard is fascinatingly rhythmic, and uses percussive elements in a wealth of creative experiments. The title track spotlights Rosenwinkel on piano in harmony with Turner's sax and shaded by Ballard and Street's rhythmic finesse. This song has an ageless style, and Rosenwinkel's execution is filled with great improvisational ideas. This is an excellent listening experience that builds from start to finish.

Customer Reviews

Kurt's finest work

I have grown to love this album so much that I now consider it one of the greatest that I own. This album truly does represent "The Next Step" in jazz and improvisation. Kurt's beautiful tone combined with Mark Turner's mastery of the saxophone's upper range combine for an incredible sound. The melody's are long, beautiful, and intricate while still being memorable. This is Kurt's playing at his best, and with the wonderful drumming of Jeff Ballard and bass playing of Ben Street, this album is truly a "who's who" of the next generation of jazz musicians. Five stars, hands down.

the first 30 seconds make this album worth it

This is truly a stand-out work. My favorite Rosenwinkel album, and one of my favorite all-time albums. Amazing playing by all involved. Rosenwinkel uses his unique tone and composition skills to create a listening experience that is both easily accessible to the ear and yet very intriguing. You'll be listening to this one for a while.


I can’t think of enough good things to say about this album and Kurt’s playing on it. It’s just wonderful. Get it.


Born: October 28, 1970 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel began his professional career in 1990, when he dropped out of Berklee only two and a half years into his college education to go on tour with Gary Burton and his band. Burton gave the young musician a hand up, helping him move to New York, giving him money, and setting him up with the kind of connections that Rosenwinkel needed to get started. The effort paid off when Rosenwinkel shortly became one of the most respected jazz guitarists on the East Coast. His fluid style...
Full Bio
The Next Step, Kurt Rosenwinkel
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  • $6.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 09, 2001

Customer Ratings