Although Kurt Rosenwinkel hadn’t encountered the term individuation until his chat with the Georgia Straight, he might be the perfect poster boy for the concept. Individuation, Carl Jung tells us, is the process of becoming self-actualized, of stepping away from parents and mentors and belief systems to become an autonomous human. Which, it turns out, is exactly what Rosenwinkel has been doing for the past few years.
Jazz aficionados already know the guitarist as an unusually fluid and expressive soloist. But it’s only with his new release, Caipi, that Rosenwinkel has unveiled the full scope of his musicianship, by singing and playing keyboards on a selection of self-penned songs.
For most listeners, the elegant, airy, and often Brazilian-inflected Caipi—which is also the name of Rosenwinkel’s new band—marks a sharp break with his earlier recordings. But, on the line from his home in Berlin, he begs to differ.
“I think this music has always been there,” he explains. “So it looks like a radical departure when you look at it from the outside.…but it’s really a rebirth to become more of myself.”
Rosenwinkel is quick to allow that he’s altered more than his sound.
“There was a point, last year—over Christmas, actually—where I retired from teaching, I parted ways with my manager and my booking agent and my record company, and I decided to launch my own record company,” he says. “I literally woke up in the middle of the night and looked at the moon, and I realized that I should do that. And it’s been so much fun to start my own business and to have the freedom to implement my own ideas and have a more direct relationship with life itself, in terms of deciding what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it.”
The universe appears to agree that he’s on the right track, most noticeably by introducing him to the 23-year-old singer, multi-instrumentalist, and future star Pedro Martins.
Rosenwinkel met the Brazilian-born Martins at the 2015 Montreux Jazz Competition, where the younger musician was crowned best electric-guitar player. “I was the president of the jury, and Pedro just blew everybody away,” he explains. “And it turns out that he had been listening to the music of Caipi on his own since he was 15 years old, because I left a demo tape of these songs down there in Rio, like, eight years ago.
“Nobody knew those songs. They were just me in my studio,” he adds. But Martins knew them well enough to earn a place in Rosenwinkel’s band, where he serves as the guitarist’s voice, six-string doppelgänger, keyboardist, and more.
Jung might say that their meeting was an instance of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence. But Rosenwinkel simply feels that all is going according to plan.
“It’s a very exciting and liberating time,” he says happily. “When you do the right thing everything feels right—and that’s how it feels now.”
Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Caipi plays Performance Works on Thursday (June 29), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.