Kurt Rosenwinkel attended the Berklee College of Music for two and a half years before leaving in his junior year to tour with Gary Burton, the dean of the school at the time. Subsequently, Rosenwinkel moved to Brooklyn, where began performing with Human Feel, Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band, Joe Henderson Group, and the Brian Blade Fellowship. During that time he began using a Lavalier lapel microphone fed into his guitar amplifier  that blends his vocalizing with his guitar –much like George Benson, and Pat Metheny– and has become a trademark of his sound, both live and in the studio.
In 1995 he won the Composer’s Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and was signed by Verve Records. Since then, he has played and recorded as both a leader and sideman with Mark Turner, Brad Mehldau, Joel Frahm, and Brian Blade, as well as many others. During Rosenwinkel’s tenure with Verve he collaborated with Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, who co-produced his studio album Heartcore that features bassist Ben Street, drummer Jeff Ballard, and saxophonist Mark Turner. He would further collaborate with Q-Tip, performing guitar on the latter’s albums The Renaissance and Kamaal/The Abstract.
Rosenwinkel has since released several albums. In 2008 The Remedy – Live at the Village Vanguard was released, featuring saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Eric Harland. On November 10, 2009, Rosenwinkel released a trio recording, Standards Trio: Reflections, which features bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Eric Harland. On September 7, 2010, Rosenwinkel released his ninth album as a leader, entitled Kurt Rosenwinkel & OJM: Our Secret World and featuring OJM an 18-piece big band from Porto, Portugal. His latest release Stars of Jupiter features pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Justin Faulkner.
Originally from Philadelphia, Rosenwinkel currently resides in Berlin, Germany. He has two sons and is on the faculty at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler.