Stars Of Jupiter

Kurt Rosenwinkel

Wommusic, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Kurt Rosenwinkel just might be one of the most prolific musicians of this generation. He's fronted nearly a dozen releases of his own, collaborated with Human Feel on a handful of albums, and has been a sideman on nearly 100 releases including albums by Marcy Playground, Mark Turner, Q-Tip, and Donald Fagen to name a few. I guess when you're an esteemed jazz guitarist and world-renowned composer, the projects you dive into are endless, and with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Star Of Jupiter, Rosenwinkel returns with his first album as a quartet since 2001.

With most songs hovering around the seven or eight minute mark and some surpassing 10 minutes, this hour and a half long release is a pretty big endeavor, even for someone as luminous as Rosenwinkel. He states the impetus for the album came to him in a dream where the Star Of Jupiter was given to him to allow him to transcend earthly ideas of form, illusion and fear. While that sentiment might be a bit ambiguous, with lead off track “Gamma Band” things start to make sense pretty quickly, and it's pretty clear Rosenwinkel's vision is quite unorthodox.

Though the first track soars with melody and Rosenwinkel's unparalleled guitar work, each song exists as its own entity, shifting in tone and pushing and pulling with unique waves of radiance. “Under It All” finds itself approaching atmospheric balladry and goes directly into the majestic, swinging “A Shifting Design.” “Homage A Mitch” and “Mr. Hope” display Rosenwinkel's jazz roots most vividly, while “Kurt1” shows that he can find a groove with the best of them.

Incredibly intricate, sometimes futuristic sounding while other times ethereal, there really are no flaws to be found here. Amazingly, despite the length of this album, with the abundance of solos from Rosenwinkel and band member Aaron Parks as well as the endless layering, effects, and experimental ideas, this never out welcomes its stay.

Rating: A

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wommusic, and is used for informational purposes only.