Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

167

Steve Kuhn: Countdown

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Experiencing a sort of re-discovery as of late, pianist Steve Kuhn has finally made a path to wider visibility. Of course, Kuhn has largely spent most of his career on the fringes. He was John Coltrane's first pianist before McCoy Tyner came along. His own recordings over the years have featured a style that is singularly his own, not too avant-garde but certainly not cocktail lounge piano either. His wonderful series of recordings for ECM during the late '70s and early '80s were largely overlooked upon issue and now are sadly unavailable. But getting back to that path, Kuhn has recently put out his second piano trio date for the Reservoir label and like its predecessor, Dedication, it's chock full of complexity and substance, yet also very inviting and accessible.

The title track that gives the album its name is of course the John Coltrane chops buster and it finds Kuhn in an incendiary mood, yet one senses that it's all done without even breaking a sweat. The same could be said of the pianist's version of "Four", which unfolds in chorus after chorus of brilliant logic. Most apparent on the several ballad performances where the harmonic sophistication tips a hat to Bill Evans, Kuhn also puts on display that marvelous bell-like tone of his, caught beautifully on tape by master engineer Rudy Van Gelder. In addition to the cuts already mentioned you'll find a few more standards and three choice Kuhn compositions, including the minor gem "Last Year's Waltz."

Much should be said too in regards to Kuhn's associates here. They are actually a working group and the empathy they share is apparent. A great deal of the success of this and the previous Reservoir set is due to the complexity of communication that goes on between Kuhn and bassist David Finck and drummer Billy Drummond. For those familiar with Drummond's more aggressive style as heard on many a Criss Cross Jazz side you'll be in for a treat when you hear how his already musical drumming is tailored perfectly to fit Kuhn's various moods. Drummond's is an art based on the various colors and textures available from the drum kit and he's so perfectly meshed with Kuhn that at times it's downright uncanny.

As part of Reservoir's distinguished New York Piano series, Countdown is a step forward for Kuhn and a valuable addition to this independent's small but substantial catalog.

Personnel: Steve Kuhn, piano; David Finck, bass; Billy Drummond, drums

Track Listing: Countdown, Chalet, Last Year's Waltz, Wrong Together, Four, Why Did I Choose You?, When Lights Are Low, She's Funny That Way, Speak Low, Tomorrow's Son


Title: Countdown | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Reservoir Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "All Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review All Smiles
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Nature City" CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "You Already Know" CD/LP/Track Review You Already Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Billionaire Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Billionaire Blues
by Mark Werlin
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Mt. Crushmore" CD/LP/Track Review Mt. Crushmore
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 8, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor