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Our Secret World by Kurt Rosenwinkel and OJM

Since the 1990s, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has been consistently turning heads with a series of releases showcasing his unique playing and compositional voice. Aside from his success as a leader, the Philadelphia native has racked up sideman credits with the likes of Brian Blade, Joshua Redman and Danilo Perez. Since 2003, Rosenwinkel has resided in Europe and currently teaches at the Jazz Institute of Berlin. In 2008, the Portugal-based big band Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos (OJM) invited the guitarist to be featured in what would become a series of successful concerts, leading to an ambitious six days of recording that would result in Our Secret World, a dynamic large ensemble re-working of seven Rosenwinkel originals.

Arrangers Carlos Azevedo, Pedro Guedes and Ohad Talmor manage to maintain the small group flavor of pieces such as the title track, "The Cloister" and "Zhivago," while realizing the orchestral potential inherent in the music's sound compositional structures. While the coloring of the expanded ensemble enhances Rosenwinkel's original harmonic/melodic imprint, the main attraction is the graceful dance of guitar soloing heard on each track. The open blowing sections devoted to Rosenwinkel are plentiful and lengthy. An abundance of ideas, lyrical flow and impeccable technique create an ear-catching intensity, especially on the palpitating "Dream of the Old" and the ballad "Use of Light" with some of the disc's most interesting arranging.

It's no small task fronting a big band, especially through an entire disc of demanding material. Rosenwinkel is up for the challenge, leaving little doubt about his stature as a towering figure among jazz guitarists.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Kurt Rosenwinkel and OJM
  • CD Title: Our Secret World
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: Word of Mouth Music
  • Rating: Five Stars
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