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Barranquijazz 2013

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BarranquijazzBarranquilla, ColombiaSeptember 4-8, 2013“Audiences 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 a real joy to perform for audiences that appreciate what you do on a purely visceral level."Mirabassi, who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn: Wisteria

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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, with his Ecstasy group; and 1980's Playground, the first of two recordings with singer Sheila Jordan--for a localized example of ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steve Kuhn: On Japan

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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 released the three-disc box set Life's Backward Glances: Solo and Quartet in 2009, containing first-time CD issues of Ecstasy (1975), ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn Trio w/ Joe Lovano: Mostly Coltrane

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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 joined by his regular associate, bassist David Finck, veteran tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, and in-demand drummer Joey Baron. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn: Life's Backward Glances

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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 that's headed by Bill Evans and Paul Bley, Kuhn is not just a member but also a distinctive stylist, with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn Trio with Joe Lovano: Mostly Coltrane

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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 “Central Park West," (later recorded for Coltrane's Sound (Atlantic, 1964)), “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," and “I Want to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn: Mostly Coltrane

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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 music and the two play some of Coltrane's compositions that aren't frequently heard, from the relatively early “Central Park West" ...

INTERVIEWS

Steve Kuhn: Shimmering Beauty

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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.

Chapter Index Studies Post Graduate Standards and Beyond Writing Songs Revisited Lyrics Technology October Suite Promises Kept Classical Inflections ECM ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Steve Kuhn Trio with Joe Lovano: Mostly Coltrane

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Steve Kuhn Trio w/ Joe Lovano Mostly Coltrane ECM Records 2009

Although he's spent most of his career focusing on interpreting the music of others, pianist Steve Kuhn's albums for the ECM label have largely been about his small but significant repertoire of original music. Which makes Mostly Coltrane a real anomaly by comparison to earlier works like those reissued in the three-CD box set Life's Backward Glances - Solo and Quartet (ECM, 2009). Still, Kuhn has a perhaps little-known connection that makes this set of, well, mostly material either composed or ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Steve Kuhn: Life's Backward Glances - Solo and Quartet

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Steve Kuhn Life's Backward Glances--Solo and Quartet ECM Records 2009 With an inestimable career largely spent in the service of interpreting the material of others, it's easy to forget pianist Steve Kuhn's equally valuable contributions as a composer. That he's turned almost exclusively to the venerable ECM label when either the spirit moves him to focus once again on his own writing, or when the label's head and primary producer Manfred Eicher feels it's time that the pianist consider doing so, the result has been a small but significant discography.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn Steve Swallow: Two by 2

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Few musicians possess anything like the lyrical capacity of Steve Kuhn and Steve Swallow, whether as composers or performers and this album of duets recorded in 1995 achieves an ideal of empathy. With the compositions roughly divided between the two, there's as much emphasis on the construction of durable melodic material as spontaneous interaction. Kuhn's opening “Gentle Thoughts" immediately achieves a limpid beauty, a vaguely Oriental theme that suggests light shimmering on water, while his “Two by Two" manages to reanimate traditional blues lines with sheer good spirits and just the lightest touch of ironic bluster. A ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn: Pastorale

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Though he's been an inimitable sideman for jazz legends like John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Arts Farmer and Blakey and though he's been leading his own first-rate groups for decades, Steve Kuhn has never become a household name. Like his frequent (and equally idiosyncratic) collaborator Sheila Jordan, he's better known abroad than here, both in Europe and Japan--which is where this new disc comes in. For Pastorale, actually, is not new--it's the overdue American release of a superb trio session done five years ago for the Japanese label Venus, under the title Waltz (Red Light). That Sunnyside has taken it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn Trio: Live at Birdland

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It's been said that “Jazz is the sound of surprise. Surprise is what you get with pianist Steve Kuhn's Trio on Live at Birdland. Like a face in a Picasso abstract, parts of a whole come at you from all angles, hardly recognizable. What the artist is showing is, however, crystal clear.

Kuhn ingeniously de-constructs standards, making the delightfully creative way in which he does so encourage appreciating the original all the more.

With the impeccably assured assistance of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster, Kuhn's deconstruction skills are no better illustrated than on the pianist's handling of Charlie ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Kuhn Trio: Live At Birdland

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Although Steve Kuhn has recorded as a leader in a variety of settings since the 1960s, has played in the bands of legends like Stan Getz, Kenny Dorham and even John Coltrane (he preceded McCoy Tyner in Coltrane's quartet), he's seldom mentioned in the pantheon of jazz piano giants. His Blue Note debut, Live at Birdland, should go a long way to correcting that oversight. The disc chronicles the reunion of a stellar trio Kuhn assembled in the 1980s with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster. In 2006, after not performing together for twenty years, the ...



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