BarranquijazzBarranquilla, ColombiaSeptember 4-8, 2013Audiences in Latin America are totally different than in Europe," Italian clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi told me while we shared a bus ride from the international airport n Barranquilla, Colombia to our hotel. Here, if you connect with them, people become passionate and emotionally expressive. In Europe, someone will come up after a concert and say something like, 'Oh, that was a very intellectual project you presented tonight.' They try to be cool. Here, it's ...read more
Context, they say, is everything. With nearly 50 albums as a leader in a career that now spans 55 years--and stints with everyone from saxophonist Stan Getz and flugelhornist Art Farmer to trumpeter Kenny Dorham...even a brief stint with saxophonist John Coltrane--pianist Steve Kuhn's best and most varied work has been across the now-ten albums recorded for ECM. You need only look to Life's Backward Glances: Solo and Quartet (ECM, 2008)--the box collecting 1975's solo piano outing, Ecstasy; 1977's Motility, ...read more
Steve Kuhn's most recent CD, Mostly Coltrane (ECM, 2009), pays tribute to John Coltrane, having been the first pianist in the legendary saxophonist's quartet. He also has played as a sideman with Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer, Stan Getz and many others. Mostly Kuhn has led his own groups, largely trios with bassists including Buster Williams, Eddie Gomez and David Finck and drummers such as Al Foster and Billy Drummond.
Kuhn has a long association with ECM Records, which also ...read more
Mostly Coltrane is pianist Steve Kuhn's venerable ode to his onetime employer, John Coltrane, with whom he played for eight weeks in early 1960 at New York City's Jazz Gallery. Kuhn revisits those seminal days without ignoring Coltrane's later period advancements, extrapolating his controversial innovations with rare lyricism and tenderness--a uniquely beautiful tribute unencumbered by nostalgic sentimentality.
Mirroring the instrumentation of Coltrane's Classic Quartet, (which featured pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones), Kuhn is ...read more
Pianist Steve Kuhn recently explored the beginnings of his musical career on Mostly Coltrane (ECM, 2009). On this three-CD set, ECM commemorates Kuhn's mid-career work with reissues of three LPs recorded between 1974 and 1979. Life's Backward Glances is aptly titled and not just because two of the three albums conclude with Kuhn's song of the same name. More than moods with Kuhn, retrospection and reflection form the basis of his aesthetic. Part of a school of cerebral modernist pianists ...read more
The sound of John Coltrane (1926-1967) was a mix of spiritual tranquility and ecstatic fury, sheets-of-sound full force gales and transcendent, tender, Zen-like ruminations from a man intent on communing with God through his music--all of which makes an attempt at communing with Coltrane a nervy quest.Enter pianist Steve Kuhn.In 1960, at 21 years of age, Kuhn was employed by Coltrane for an eight week stint of live shows at New York's The Jazz Gallery, playing ...read more
When John Coltrane left Miles Davis' band at the end of 1959, the first working quartet he formed had Steve Kuhn on piano for gigs at the Jazz Gallery over the first three months of 1960. Here Kuhn pays deeply affecting tribute to Coltrane and his music with Joe Lovano on tenor and tarogato and Kuhn's regular trio members, bassist David Finck and drummer Joey Baron. Kuhn and Lovano have both been shaped in part by Coltrane's ...read more
This interview, originally published on March 2, 2009, is being reprinted to coincide with the release of Steve Kuhn's Mostly Coltrane (ECM, 2009).
Whether it is in his trio, collaborating with vocalists or accompanying an orchestra, pianist Steve Kuhn has always managed to effortlessly defy and combine genres. Whether it is an older recording or one of his newer albums, an inherent ability to create melodic-based beauty makes his playing and compositions instantly identifiable. ...read more