In a special issue of Japan's "JAZZ LIFE" magazine, they selected the 22 All-Time Greatest Jazz Guitarists. Of course, legends like Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and Jim Hall were included alongside more recent giants George Benson, Pat Martino, Larry Coryell, and John McLaughlin. But right there amongst contemporaries John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Mike Stern and Bill Frisell was Steve Khan! Testament to a large body of work which now spans more than 30 years. Hard to believe this dream began at a rather late age with Wes Montgomery held as the model to which to aspire. Steve admits that, when he was a teenager, "I was a terrible drummer with no musical training. I had developed a love for the guitar, and when I was 19 I switched instruments. I decided that I would not make the same mistakes I had made with the drums and studied hard in college along with private lessons from Ron Anthony." During these years, Khan always found himself in fast company and, from such situations he learned, developed and survived. By the time he graduated from U.C.L.A., in 1969, he felt ready to make the move to New York City.
From this point forward, so much of Steve's career is well documented. In 1974, he performed in one of the first contemporary jazz guitar duos with Larry Coryell. During this same period, he became a key member of the Brecker Bros. Band. His first recordings as a leader were a trio of well-received albums for Columbia Records titled: "TIGHTROPE"('77), "THE BLUE MAN"('78), and, "ARROWS"('79). These recordings featured Michael and Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Don Grolnick, Will Lee, Steve Gadd, Mike Mainieri and others. In 1994, Sony Music/Columbia released a CD compilation drawn from these three LPs titled, "THE COLLECTION."
In 1980, Steve recorded a brilliant solo acoustic guitar album, "EVIDENCE," which paid tribute to his earliest jazz inspirations and served to establish him as one of the great interpreters of the music of Thelonious Monk. Between 1981 and 1985, he worked and recorded steadily with his quartet, Eyewitness, which included Anthony Jackson, Manolo Badrena, and Steve Jordan. Together they made three recordings: "EYEWITNESS"('81), "MODERN TIMES"/"BLADES"('82), and "CASA LOCO"('83). During 1984, Steve joined with Steely Dan's Donald Fagen to interpret Thelonious Monk's "Reflections" for the "THAT'S THE WAY I FEEL NOW" recording which was a tribute to Monk and his compositions. When the group needed a break, Khan joined Joe Zawinul's WEATHER UPDATE for it's one and only tour in '86. This was followed by an innovative duet recording with keyboardist Rob Mounsey. The Grammy-nominated CD was titled "LOCAL COLOR" and was released in '87. In 1989, EYEWITNESS was resurrected with Dave Weckl replacing Steve Jordan for the "PUBLIC ACCESS" ('90) CD. Since that time, Steve has added two groundbreaking straight- ahead jazz recordings featuring Ron Carter and Al Foster. "LET'S CALL THIS" and "HEADLINE" were released in '91 and '92 respectively. In '94, Steve found himself back in the company of Anthony Jackson and Manolo Badrena, adding Dennis Chambers and Michael Brecker for "CROSSINGS," which is dedicated to the memory of Steve's late father, lyricist Sammy Cahn.