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Heartcore

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 12, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

HEARTCORE

Amazon.com

With Heartcore, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel conjures a different world than fans of his may be accustomed to. We're in fusionland, where his stinging and soothing solos run up against lush keyboard effects and trance-style programming and jazz time is frequently sacrificed to a timeless sense of spiritual striving. Produced by Rosenwinkel and hip-hop notable Q-Tip, this is a smart and freshly conceived if not consistently gripping effort--it could be half as trippy and still alter your consciousness. Acclaimed tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, a longtime foil of Rosenwinkel's, is featured, as are bassist Ben Street and drummer Jeff Ballard of the guitarist's working group. Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus is also on hand for two songs, adding to the flavorful organ and electric piano effects that Rosenwinkel also incorporates into the music. "All the Way to Rajasthan" is a standout cut that brings Mahavishnu-era John McLaughlin to mind. --Lloyd Sachs
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 12, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B0000A0I90
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,127 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jan P. Dennis on August 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It's never easy to create genuinely new music.
So when an artist as accomplished as jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel even attempts it, we should take a careful look. When it's pulled off, we have reason to get excited.
Jazz, especially, seems a difficult music to drag into the future, what with its hoary tradition, its huge standards presence, its informal council of ruling elders. So when a bright young upstart like Rosenwinkel teams up with hip-hop producer Q-Tip, one has every reason to be leery of the result.
Well, I'm here to tell you that you can put to rest fears of diluted quasi-jazz, such as you get on, e.g., The Detroit Experiment. What's happening here is that a hip-hop vibe has successfully been mapped onto a genuine jazz esthetic, with the results sounding eminently in tune with an authentic jazz sensibility. That is, we get novelty and tradition working hand-in-hand. An analog might be world jazz such as Egberto Gismonti or the Intercontinentals (Bill Frisell's new band) or Roswell Rudd in Mali have produced. The trick in these musical fusions is to retain an authentic jazz vibe in the presence of alien influences.
Of course, jazz has been doing this sort of thing for a long time. Essentially a blend of African rhythms, European classical harmonies, and some weird Creole vibe, the first jazz that emerged from New Orleans around the turn of the 20th century was itself a hodge-podge. Then Dizzy Gillespie with Afro-Cuban jazz and Sonny Rollins with numbers like "St. Thomas" took it further along. Artists like Andy Narell, Cyro Baptista, Caribbean Jazz Project, and Safa have successfully moved it along new tangents.
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By A Customer on September 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Like Bird, Coltrane, Monk, Mingus, and countless others, Rosenwinkel can at first be hard to listen to because he is utterly unique and unorthodox. Like them, he will continue to be dismissed by people like the above Mr. Nicholas because he's not producing a decent copy of what's already been done a zillion times. I don't mean to put Rosenwinkel on the level of these other guys, but I do believe he is one of the few voices who continues to keep jazz alive by pushing it forward. If Rosenwinkel had done another "The Next Step" album and added some sampling in production, or gone the "acid jazz" route and pretended to innovate by playing jazz licks over watered down hip hop, he would probably sell about ten times as many albums. But instead he offers a project that's more about musical expression than marketability. It's taken me a couple weeks to get into this album, because it doesn't conform to my idea of what jazz guitar should be or what electronic music should be. That's because Rosenwinkel is not cutting from one style of music and pasting it onto another. He is working in a different medium, and the composition, playing and production fits the medium.
And Mark Whitfield?? If Mr. Nicholas was capable of listening to Rosenwinkel on a deeper level, he'd hear a much deeper connection to Wes, Benson and Martino than the slew of "straight ahead" copycats. Mr. Nicholas reveals his ignorance in the above review by offering a Benson clone (and not even one of the best at that) as a better alternative to Rosenwinkel. I for one am tired of buying jazz guitar albums and hearing great players who don't reach beyond what's been done ad nauseam. If jazz is going to be kept alive, great musicians need to take risks, and critics like Mr. Nicholas need to shut their mouths and open their minds and ears. I'm not as excited (yet) by this album as I am by The Next Step. But it's well worth fifteen bucks.
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Format: Audio CD
I got this for Christmas this year and it sure beats the crap out another pair of socks! I hate to join the other reviewers in kicking Mr Nicholas (see below) whilst he is down but he is completely wrong in his assesment of this great album - stick to the smooth rubbish pal!
This is one of the freshest records I have heard. When listening to the record you think of Weather Report, Miles and McLaughlin but ultimately this is a very original piece of work. Yes you can use the words ambient and fusion to describe the feel of the album but there is lots of great jazz playing throughout. It is very intersting to hear players such as Rosenwinkle and Mark Turner (who contributes strongly) play in a new context.
Full marks for trying someting new. This is a well realised concept and the album plays well as a whole with the tracks fitting into a good order which is unusual these days. This is an album that really grows on you - it is not an obvious winner but after a couple of listens you will find it hard to get it out of the CD player. If you are at all adventurous or have liked previous albums by Rosenwinkle or Turner get this now. If you think jazz died with "In a Silent Way" then this isn't for you! This is my first ever e-review - so this clearly made an impression on me!
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Format: Audio CD
Heartcore continues in Mr. Rosenwinkel's "tradition" of exploring new territory.
This CD has a compositions similar to say, Joe Zawinul's style - blocks, or segments of ideas linked together nicely. There is a good dramatic sense in his composing - the songs and the improvisations have a "natural" structure, and even when the song is has a long 2 or 3 chord "vamp" the song still has motion, and doesn't get stuck or feel monotonous.
My only complaint is the drum machine feels - they have a similarity throughout the CD - a sort of slowish rock/rhumba/cha cha/what-have-you
type of feel and could use a little more variety. I would prefer a real drummer
to the machine.
As a longtime listener to jazz (35 years and counting) I am always starved for good new music - and Heartcore does the trick. This CD (and all his others) should be in any "modern" jazz listener's collection...
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