Melody in a Dream is a humble tribute to Steve Cardenas' mentors and music heroes. The Kansas City guitarist who moved to New York City in 1995 pays his respects to figures like late piano genius Thelonius Monk, avant-garde drummer Joey Baron(who is his sideman in this album), the deceased drummer Paul Motian and pianist Horace Silver. This is the fourth Cardenas solo album, who was a member of Paul Motian Electric Bebop Band for several years, as well as a fundamental piece of Killer Joey, Joey Baron's group. Ode to Joey" is a theme composed ...read more
Kansas City has had a long and storied place in jazz history. From Count Basie, to Charlie Parker and Lester Young, some of the best and brightest in the genre have either been raised or cut their teeth in K.C. While there seems to be an historical tinge to the city whenever its contribution to jazz is concerned, the Paris of the Plains still produces many top-notch instrumentalist and vocalists from its clubs, high schools and universities. With such a storied past, and love of all things jazz, it's no wonder that players like Danny Embry, Karrin Allyson and guitarist ...read more
Steve CardenasWest of MiddleSunnyside Records2010
It is time for the voice of Steve Cardenas to be heard. The guitarist, a sideman for several years and dozens of projects led by a diverse group of musicians--bassists, reedmen, brass players, drummers, vocalists--Cardenas has held his own in various sizes of ensembles. But as a leader, so far the guitarist has preferred the company of one or two musicians to accompany him on his musical excursions.
On West of Middle Cardenas shares centre stage with bassist Ben Allison and up and coming percussion ...read more
Guitarist Steve Cardenas sports an unassuming style, devoid of histrionics. He favors clean tones, solid rhythms and cagey harmonies for a subtle, supportive approach. It's a combination he's used to help shape the music of drummers Paul Motian and Joey Baron, bassists Alexis Cuadrado and Charlie Haden and vocalists Kate McGarry and Rebecca Martin, among others. On West of Middle, only his third record as a leader, Cardenas enlists drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Ben Allison, with whom he's developed a strong rapport in the latter's group. Their interaction propels the mostly mid-tempo, blues-rock-influenced material, which doesn't shatter any boundaries ...read more
An observation we might make about jazz albums today, as opposed to the days of vinyl, is that there are a lot more first-rate musicians recording today, for a welter of small, independent CD labels. This means that there is a lot more available, high-quality jazz product today, if the astute listener knows where to look. Which brings us to Panoramic, the latest CD by guitarist Steve Cardenas.
If an album as good as Panoramic had been released thirty years ago, it would have stood out as an exceptional record, a must-buy. It is no disrespect to the ...read more
Steve Cardenas has worked as a superb accompanist to classic groovers Eddie Harris and Jay McShann, classic modernists Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, and a newer breed of female vocalists, such as Kate McGarry, Rebecca Martin and even Miss Norah Jones. Unusually, he's best-known for work in ensembles that spin twin guitars, as a member of Motian's Electric Bebop Band (where he's split duties with Kurt Rosenwinkel and now, Ben Monder) and Joey Baron's Killer Joey" (with Brad Shepik).
Release of this December 2002 session confirms that Cardenas has spent too much time flying under the radar of guitar and ...read more