I still remember when I first heard Kurt Rosenwinkel’s epic album “The Next Step”. In the early 2000s I was visiting my guitar friend Riaz Khabirpour in his apartment in Amsterdam. When he went out to practice, I stayed in his place, going through his record collection. I can still tap into the feeling I had when hearing Kurt’s intro to “Zhivago” for the first time. I was mesmerized by his otherworldly, fluid and big sound. Lines and harmonies like I hadn’t heard before quite like that. Since then, “The Next Step” remained an important album to me and made me check out as much of Kurt’s music as I could.

In our talk, we get in to his relationship with Ben Street, Jeff Ballard & Mark Turner, memories from his steady gig at Smalls, thinking of other instruments while playing the guitar, the development of his sound, learning other people’s music, playing Paul Motian’s EBBB… and then he went over to the piano and demonstrated the process behind his song “Cycle 5” and much more.

I’m grateful to Kurt for all the inspiration and for everything he shared so candidly in our conversation.