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Time is elusivepassing slowly in a given moment or as fleeting as a precious memory. Between recordings, it had been almost ten years since guitarist Steve Khan released his acclaimed comeback CD The Green Field (Tone Center, 2006). Thankfully it didn't take another ten years to release Borrowed Time.
From the cover art by Jean-Michel Folon to Khan's unmistakable style; in many ways, this release is about both remembrance and discovery. You'll either remember some of his inspiring music from the past; discover new sounds, or both. In retrospect, his early recordings, including the Eyewitness group releases, may have been ahead of their time. But what is obvious, after many years, is that Khan's music still has a timeless and unique quality that is always in the present.
This is true of the opening Monk/Coleman Hawkins remake "I Mean You, a classic example of Khan's progressiveness, marked by his knack for reinventing standards his way: unique soloing and rhythmic chord changes at the end of the groove as Jack DeJohnette lays down a smoking drum solo. Always the balladeer, check out his rendition of "You're My Girl, played with elegance as returning players DeJohnette and bassist John Patitucci fill the spaces with a soft cushion. They also turn up the fire on "Blues for Ball, which contains some wonderful fret-board actiondriven, searching, and inventiveas Khan plays like there's no tomorrow.
There's a cast of excellent musicians; many of whom have recorded with Khan over the years. The tropical breezes of "Face Value and "Have You Met Miss Jones? feature trumpeter Randy Brecker and keyboardist Rob Mounsey, as Khan plays acoustic guitar like no one else. Percussionists, including longtime associate Manolo Badrena, once again color the recording with vibrant Afro/Cuban/Latin rhythms. But there are surprises such as "El Faquir an exceptional piece with an added Indian motif, and "Luna Y Arena (Moon and Sand), with tantalizing vocals sung by Argentinean jazz vocalist Gabriela Anders.
There could be much more to say about this release but as the saying goes "Time is of the essence and now it's time (again) to listen to this wonderful recording.