Jazz guitarist Kurt Rosewinkel brought his six-piece band to Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase this weekend for the premiere of Rosenwinkel's new album, Caipi, which focuses on Brazilian rhythms and textures. In a review of the Thursday night opening set, Tribune reviewer Howard Reich was highly complimentary of Rosenwinkel, but he seemed skeptical about what he heard, writing:
Yes, toward the end of the first set, the sameness of this vast sonic framework tired the ear a bit. Too much reverb-heavy sound for too long will do that. But if Rosenwinkel were to offer a shade more textural variety and tad less volume in some spots, his new concept would sustain interest longer.
I am not as charitable. To me the entire set sounded like muddled Blind Melon or Eddie Brickell & the New Bohemians. There was a strong element of jam band to the outting. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, particularly when there is some wonderful jazz guitar going on underneath the muddle. After all, the Grateful Dead's work grew on me over the years. Unfortunately, the muddle and the monotony got the upper hand. The voices were unintelligible.
Rosenwinkel did draw a much younger demographic to the Showcase's Sunday afternoon show--I am not talking about the "Save the Children" aspect of these shows. A group of 10 to 15 Twenty-Somethings were in the audience, which is great. Maybe they will come back for Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Freddie Cole, or some of the other more mainstream jazz players that flow through the club over the course of a year.
I do Rosenwinkel credit on one score. I arrived about 45 minutes early. Rosenwinkel was on stage doing guitar runs, warming up for the upcoming set. He practiced for at least 35 minutes. He is a true professional, who obviously wants to deliver a top notch performance every time.
Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar and in train engineer cap, Bill Campbell on drums, Pedro Martin on guitar and keyboards, and in knit hat, and Olivia Trummer on piano.