Kurt Rosenwinkel – A Year of Change


Kurt Rosenwinkel Sitting

Kurt Rosenwinkel has casually been called the younger generation’s Pat Metheny. I am not sure it was a title he was aiming for but the sentiment is the same. It goes someway to describing the importance of Rosenwinkel on the current jazz landscape. By including Rosenwinkel on the billing for The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival this year Jack McGauran is laying down a marker that Jazz and it’s international exponents are firmly back on the agenda. Rosenwinkel is one of the “new” crop of jazz masters and he has played, toured and recorded with some of the hottest names on the global scene, Avishai Cohen, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, Brad Mehldau, Aaron Goldberg, Brian Blade etc. etc. etc.

A native of Philadelphia he has resided in Berlin for the last twelve years where he was a member of the faculty of the prestigious Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. This is until he “retired” earlier this year. That certainly was a laughing point when we talked a couple of days a go. Although Rosenwinkel has given up his teaching position he has no plans to leave Berlin. He has two children who have been raised in Germany and he declares that Europe is a far better location for touring purposes.

There is a lot of appreciation for creative music in Europe, a lot more respect and therefore a lot more performing opportunities. It is much easier to play one off gigs and then return to Berlin.”

kurt-rosenwinkel-playingIt’s been a year of change,” he tells me.

I have set up my own label, Heartcore Records and I will be releasing my next album Caipi on that label. I was very close to signing with a major jazz label but at this stage of my career I did not need a gatekeeper looking over my shoulder and dictating how my music should sound and feel. I felt I had my own vision of what I wanted to say through my music. Heartcore Records is not just a label to release my own music, I see it developing a roaster of artists who have the same goals for their music as I do.”

We continued talking and I asked Kurt to explain a little about the new project that he is bringing to the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival this year.

“Caipi is a project that has been formulating in my head for the last ten years. The album is going to be released on February 10th but the audience in Cork will get the opportunity to hear the completed music before the release date. It is music that is heavily mixed with singing, background vocals and a Brazilian flavour.”

How did you decide the musicians for the project?

I was the Chairman of the judging panel of the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2015. One of the competitors was a young Brazilian guitarist called Pedro Martinskurt-rosenwinkel-in-a-lane who won that category. Pedro and his trio helped me form the nucleus of the Caipi and helped it come to life. Pedro Martins Trio will be releasing their album that I produced on Heartcore Records

Rosenwinkel goes on to explain that he has big ambitions for the Caipi project. He plans to tour it over the next 18 months. He feels that he now has the line-up to take the project forward. Appearing in Cork this year with Rosenwinkel is the three Brazilians of Pedro Martins on Guitar, Frederico Heliodoro on bass and Antonio Loureiro on percussion. Olivia Trummer who is no stranger to Cork audiences will be on piano and Bill Cambell on drums.

Kurt Rosenwinkel will be part of a double bill with Larry Coryell’s 11th House Project on Sunday 30th October at 8.00pm in the Everyman Theatre, Cork. A show not to be missed!!

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