If ever there was anything worth waiting ten years for it is this album. Caipi is an idea that was has been rattling around in the head of Kurt Rosenwinkel for a decade.
Very much a departure from a guitar lead instrumental album that could be expected from one of the most prominent guitarist in the world today. Caipi is a mix of latin rhythms (but no samba or bossa nova here), infectious vocals and good old fashion progressive rock. When I listen to this album I hear influences of George Duke’s Brazilian Love Affair and Pink Floyd. Although Kurt plays all the instruments on Caipi he is not alone and has some very notable guests on board to add real flavour to the project. Eric Clapton appears on Little Dream and Amanda Brecker (daughter of Randy and Eliane Ellis) appears on vocals in Kama. Add to the mix Saxophonist Mark Turner on Ezra and Casio Vanguard and you can see that musical family is still very important to Rosenwinkel.
The opening track Caipi sets the tone in that the introduction is a simple acoustic guitar solo that soon opens up some very progressive harmonic ideas. Casio Vanguard opens with a delightful uptempoed rhythm that transposes into a passionate inspiring melody. Summer Song again has a very traditional opening but moves into a mellow groove with angelic style vocals raising the spirit. Hold On should be played across all the FM radio stations in the USA in a similar way Foreigner and Survivor were during the 80’s. It’s a catchy rock tune that you will hum long after turning the CD player off. There is no doubt that this album grooves but there are also some soft moments with the introspective track Casio Escher. Throughout the album Rosenwinkel remains disciplined from branching out on searching solos but on Little b we get a taste of his instrumental prowess.
Overall there are two notions that hit me. Celestial Harmonies and intriguing harmonics. The notes are’t ever quite what you expect next. I have been listening to Caipi now for a couple of weeks and took a long time to write anything about it. In a way I didn’t want to spoil the relationship I was having with Caipi. I just wanted to enjoy it for what it is, an incredible wonderfully crafted album with great subtlety contained within it. Time will tell if it will be called a masterpiece but it is certainly a brave and courages album and a big step into new territory that undoubted works!
Review by Dominic Reilly, Feb 2017