Jazz Weekly 

Creative Music and other forms of Avant Garde

THE ARTIST AS MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER…Louis Rosen: It Is Still Dark-Three Suites, Music For Guitar

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Reacting from the draconian COVID lockdown, some artists went into a major recluse. New York based Louis Rosen used the time of solitude for an opportunity of creativity, putting together a handful of releases that he either composed for or played on. Here are the first two, and the breath, width and depth of his ideas are in rich evidence here, touching bases on almost every viable and enjoyable genre. 

It Is Still Dark: Three Suites is a wide-ranging affair, divided up into, you guessed it, three parts. The first section, the five-part Winter Carols, features solo pianist Kimberly Grisby and Charity Wicks on an inspiration of Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol, including a charming and uplifting “Streets of London, Christmas Eve”, a reflective and nostalgic “Christmas Past” and a dark and foreboding “Christmas Present”.

Suite for Clarinet and  Piano has Grisby teamed with the warm toned Andrew Sterman, with an innocent and Grieg-ish “Overture in Miniature”, a prancing “To Olga” a chiming “Lost” and a reflective  nocturne of “Round”, with tender mercies emitted on “IT IS STILL DARK”. Last but not least is Broadway-toned vocalist Darius de Hass entering stage right for a harrowingly told story on “Emergency”, a richly vibrato’d “IT IS STILL DARK” and a hectic and staccato’d pulse of “It Was Jazz Music”. As opposed to most modern pens, Rosen’s is clear, lyrical and melodically applied. Charts worth navigating.

Rosen actually performs on the other album, Music For Guitar, playing both nylon and steel strings on fragrant originals. He gives a gentle Andalusian feel with nylon strings on “Passamel”, with a gracious use of space for “Before Rain” and the reflective and patient “Air”. On steel strings, his walking bass line sets the foundation for a story told on the calliope sounding “Travis Tea”, while he seemingly takes inspiration from the pop song “Spooky” and turns it into a folksy excursion. Dark strums create shadows on “Severin Hotel” and a trip to the Cumberland Gap give color to the bluesy “MSNBC (78 to 44) and the back porch of “Fly Not Hence”. Casual and cozy conversations.


Louis Rosen

Music For Guitar


            A very skilled and versatile composer, Louis Rosen has written over 30 scores for theater productions and recorded at least ten albums on piano or guitar. His music is difficult to classify for it blends together jazz, folk music and classical. Music For Guitar features a dozen pieces on which Rosen plays solo acoustic guitar.

            The melodies are rich, there is more variety in moods than expected, and such titles as "Before Rain," "Air," "Meditation 1 A.M," "MSNBC (Or 7/8 to 4/4)," and "Night Blues" gives one an idea as to the moods covered. For the closer, the rockish strut "Eight And Forty In A Pie," guitarist David Mansfield improvises a second guitar part.

            Louis Rosen's melodic and mostly soothing music is well worth several close listens. It is available from

                                                                                    Scott Yanow, November 2022