14

Steve Khan: Backlog

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Khan: Backlog Latin jazz has rarely featured the guitar, but that hasn't stopped Steve Khan. Backlog continues in the vein of previous albums including Parting Shot (Tone Center, 2011) and Subtext (Tone Center, 2014): creative Latin arrangements of Great American Songbook standards and modern jazz tunes that are rarely played in Latin style (or in any style, in the case of the more obscure choices). The two previous installments included a number of Khan originals, but Backlog is entirely devoted to covers.

Some are drawn from a familiar well: Khan has shown a longtime fondness for the compositions of Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman. Monk's "Criss Cross" provides the upbeat set opener. "Latin Genetics" was introduced on Coleman's In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams, 1987) and became a staple in his live performances. One of his catchiest tunes, it benefits from trumpeter Randy Brecker's guest appearance. "Invisible" dates from Coleman's first album, Something Else! (Contemporary, 1958), but Khan and guest tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer free the song from the overly literal comping on the original recording.

The classic Blue Note catalog provides another source of repertoire, and Khan's choices again are unexpected. Two come from the pen of the great vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, who surely deserves greater recognition as a composer. "Head Start" features guest vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, while "Rojo" is re-imagined with steel-string acoustic guitar. Andrew Hill's "Catta" comes from another Hutcherson album, Dialogue (Blue Note, 1965), with acoustic guitar substituting for the original's piano and Tatiana Parra's wordless vocals reminiscent of Weather Report's occasional use of the voice as an instrument.

Last but not least, there are the standards (including one modern entry). "Our Town" was co-written by Khan's father Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, and gets a dream-like treatment with orchestra, as does Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer's "Emily." Stevie Wonder's "Go Home" is all slinky funk and over-driven guitar—a reminder that Khan once worked with Steely Dan.

All of Khan's series of Latin albums are full of great grooves and soulful playing, but Backlog may be the best of them: a rich, varied and surprising selection of songs with enough well-chosen guest artists to keep the arrangements fresh.

Track Listing: Criss Cross; Concepticus In C; Latin Genetics; Our Town; Head Start; Rojo; Invisible; Emily; Go Home; Catta.

Personnel: Steve Khan: guitar; Rubén Rodriguez: baby bass, electric bass; Mark Walker: drums; Marx Quiñones: timbales, bongo, percussion; Bobby Allende: conga, bongo; Randy Brecker: trumpet (3); Bob Mintzer: tenor sax (7); Mike Mainieri: vibes (5); Rob Mounsey: keyboards (2, 6, 7, 9) orchestrations; Tatiana Parra: voice (10).

Title: Backlog | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Tone Center


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Waltz About Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review Waltz About Nothing
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 20, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.