It is rare for edgy, exploratory guitarists to be signed by major labels. But Kurt Rosenwinkel is a special player, and he has vindicated Verve’s faith by recording four strong albums in the last five years. Yet he has not achieved the public acceptance enjoyed by guitarists with whom he is sometimes mentioned, like Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell.
Rosenwinkel’s new Verve album, Deep Song, is an explicit attempt to become more accessible. It’s a long shot, because his music remains too complex, too metrically and harmonically challenging, for the mass market. But Deep Song is one startling, brilliantly realized idea after another. The eight originals, with their sliding layers of counterpoint, never resolve as expected.