Steve Khan has always been a consummate, story-telling improviser. His extensive resume and distinguished solo career spans jazz fusion, modern mainstream, and with Subtext, he delves a bit deeper into the Latin element, when looking back at his days recording and performing with former Weather Report percussionist Manolo Badrena who was a member of Khan's early 80s bands. It's a sprightly session, featuring guest appearances by trumpeter Randy Brecker, keyboardist Rob Mounsey and others of note. But the core personnel with heavyweight drummer Dennis Chambers and percussionists, Bobby Allende and Marc Quinones give Khan that added oomph amid his clever ...read more
Change is a fact of life, and it's something that's better to be embraced than challenged; as inevitable as death and taxes, it's one of those things that you may as well accept, because there are few, if any, options to do otherwise. That said, while the then-aptly titled Parting Shot (Tone Center, 2011) suggested that guitarist Steve Khan's days recording as a leader were over, it is, indeed, great news to find, in 2014, that he's changed his mind with the release of Subtext--though the why is not necessarily so good. But more about that later. Subtext ...read more
Guitarist Steve Khan's latter day work has been increasingly focused on Latin jazz fusion of various shapes, so the scope and direction of Subtext should come as no surprise to his longtime followers. This album arrives three years after Parting Shot (Tone Center, 2011) and runs along similar lines. That one was an originals-heavy, percussively-coated session that dipped into the songbooks of Thelonious Monk ("Bye-Ya") and Ornette Coleman ("Blues Connotation" and Chronology"); this one is a mostly covers companion piece that also touches on the work of those same iconic artists. On Subtext, fronting a percussion-heavy quintet, ...read more
It's tough for artists to remain viable in a fast-paced environment in which hype is focused on the latest flavor of the week or whatever technology and media is creating a buzz. As usual, jazz gets caught in the flux, but guitarist Steve Khan continues to demonstrate that it's not just about the technology or complexity, but the music and who's playing it. Off the heels of the superb live recording The Suitcase (Tone Center, 2008), Khan continues his love affair with Latin music in Parting Shot . A reunion of consummate musician friends that include percussionist Manolo ...read more
The term, parting shot" can certainly be interpreted in any number of ways. Perhaps for most of us, it would be best defined like this: a threat, insult, condemnation, sarcastic retort, or, gesture delivered while departing." I choose to view it as the latter, thinking of a light punch to the shoulder as the final gesture! This interpretation led me to invent my own Spanish title: Golpe de partida." I think that someone else would have chosen, La última palabra"--the last word--as the title in Spanish. But, for me, that just did not have the right ring" to it.read more
Evolution is one of those things where an artist either gradually shifts direction, or makes sudden quantum leaps. Guitarist Steve Khan has done both in a career dating back four decades, and the first of three hot fusion records for Columbia as a leader, Tightrope (1977), that fit firmly in The Brecker Brothers camp, but, with an in-your-face guitar presence that ran the occasional risk of over-dominance. Khan had a clear epiphany with Evidence (Arista, 1980), an overlooked gem interpreting the music of Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and others in a largely acoustic environs, but with an array ...read more
Steve Khan's been on the comeback trail with the fine The Green Field (Tone Center, 2006)--his first as a leader in nine years--and even more impressive Borrowed Time (Tone Center, 2007), so keeping up the momentum is a very good thing. While not a new recording, The Suitcase captures the guitarist in performance with one of his hottest trios ever--contrabassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Dennis Chambers. Recorded in Köln, Germany in 1994, the two-disc set represents a comprehensive cross-section of material beginning with the guitarist's watershed Eyewitness (Antilles, 1981) through to Crossings (Verve Forecast, 1994). Opening with an ...read more
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