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Album Review

Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio, 'Reflections'

December 7, 2009

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Jazz
Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio Reflections
Word of Mouth
ESSENTIAL “Reflections’’

In Kurt Rosenwinkel’s catalog, “Reflections’’ comes as a bit of a shocker. The technical dazzle that the guitarist usually displays is reined in, the menu consists entirely of ballads, and the band is stripped back to a trio - with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Eric Harland, two of the best in the game. Rosenwinkel, a 39-year-old Berklee dropout who is considered one of his generation’s most talented guitarists, has never been a noisemaker; he’s more Pat Martino than John Scofield. But on “Reflections’’ he dials it all the way back, with a bare-bones setting that puts all the focus on his fluid style. The album’s title comes from the Thelonious Monk composition, and, sheesh, does Rosenwinkel do a nice job with it, picking out the melody as though he were caressing a satin sheet with his fingertips for nine minutes. And then he improvises, and it’s gorgeous and perfect, as though Monk himself had written Rosenwinkel’s solo right into the piece. And those gorgeous descending chords near the tune’s close! This is not hyperbole: This album will one day be considered one of the essential discs of the jazz-guitar-trio subgenre. (Out tomorrow)

STEVE GREENLEE