Kurt Rosenwinkel began his professional career in 1990, when he dropped out of Berklee school of music in Boston only two and a half years into his college education to go on tour with Gary Burton and his band. Burton gave the young musician a hand up, helping him move to New York, giving him money and setting him up with the kind of connections that Rosenwinkel needed to get started. The effort paid off when Rosenwinkel shortly became one of the most respected jazz guitarists on the east coast. His fluid style got him jobs as a member, session musician and touring musician within a number of ensembles and earned him praise from other veteran guitarists like John Scofield and Pat Metheny.
Over the following eight years he was featured on 12 albums, with Burton, Paul Motian, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake and others. He also won a Composer's Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1995. In 1998 he released a solo album on Criss Cross Records ≈ a collection of standards entitled Intuit. 2000 brought him his major-label debut on Verve, Enemies of Energy, which allowed him to stretch creatively and simultaneously show off the performance skills which were honed during touring and nearly weekly gigs at Small's in New York as well as his interpretive and compositional strengths. Next Step followed in early 2001.