Few things can put a smile on your face this year quite like Kurt Rosenwinkel’s latest Brazilian-influenced album, Caipi, out now on Sunnyside. The man has been an inspiration to a whole generation of jazz musicians for his ambitious but amiable approach to the guitar. However Rosenwinkel has went beyond this, playing most of the instruments, singing, and arranging himself and a few other guests to create a work that puts this aesthetic to even more awe-inspiring application.
It’s worth noting this is a lyrical album. Not all the time, it’s still very instrumental for more than enough stretches, but this is Rosenwinkel’s public hand as a lyricist (and as a vocalist, for that matter). There are songs dedicated to his children, and they state the love he feels for them as much as the music itself conveys that feeling. The words — sometimes in English, sometimes in Portuguese with the accompaniment of Amanda Brecker — floating through these songs are as joyful as Pat Metheny’s iconic chantings, and that never fails to put a jolt into music. Yet with music as generally chill as this, having that low undercurrent of electricity flowing throughout the album gives everything a constant buzz that exhilarates as much as it maintains calm. The current isn’t losing anything to resistance.
However, as much as breezy and chill are words that can easily describe this album, this in no way means Rosenwinkel is being tame or dreadedly pleasant here. These primarily 5-6 minute songs have movement and range, daring peaks and gentle valleys. There’s dynamism and room (that he established for himself, that happens when someone is sequencing his own playing primarily) for speeding off and taking flight, and for plenty of tricks while soaring in the air.
There’s plenty of reasons to love this album– its consistency, its daring, its pleasantness without being milquetoast, but most of all, its ability to coax a smile. Caipi does all that because Kurt Rosenwinkel has always done all that, whether speaking about his ability, his career, or about doing so much right here, right now. Kurt Rosenwinkel does all that.
Caipi, the new album from guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, is out now on Sunnyside Records.
Kurt Rosenwinkel – acoustic & electric guitars, electric bass, piano, drums, percussion, synth, casio, voice
Eric Clapton – guitar
Pedro Martins – voice, drums, keyboards, percussion
Alex Kozmidi – baritone guitar
Mark Turner – tenor saxophone
Kyra Garéy – voice
Antonio Loureiro – voice
Zola Mennenöh – voice
Amanda Brecker – voice
Frederika Krier – violin
Chris Komer – French horn
Andi Haberl – drums
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.