Steve Kuhn Trio: Quireme Mucho

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Kuhn Trio: Why an album takes over five years from recording to release is curious, especially when it's from an established artist like pianist Steve Kuhn—perennially underappreciated to be sure, but not without a certain cachet. Still, finding a home for a session can sometimes be a challenge, and at the end of the day, whether it was recorded five years or five months ago, we should be thankful that Quiéreme Mucho—a thoroughly engaging mainstream set that turns the idea of approaching a Latin repertoire on its side—has finally found a home on Sunnyside Records.

These days, with such liberal cross-pollination of different cultural styles within the jazz purview, it's sometimes easy to forget that one of mainstream jazz's fundamental premises is to take music—any music—and apply certain defining characteristics, perhaps most importantly a strong sense of swing. And so, rather than treat the Latin sources of the six songs on Quiéreme Mucho with any kind of cultural reverence, Kuhn and his trio with bassist David Fincke and drummer Al Foster take the material and, barring one exception, place it smack dab in the middle of the mainstream.

The songs range from the spry medium tempo opener, "Andalucia, to the more up-tempo "Bésame Mucho" and "Duerme, the relaxed "Siempre En Mi Corazón, and the balladic yet nimble "Tres Palabras. Only Foster's slow dance rhythm gives the title track any overt cultural authenticity.

But what is there to place a program of centrist piano jazz above the plethora of trios mining similar mainstream territory today? Well, for one, Kuhn has always been a soloist with a strong compositional sense. No single solo stands out, because they all manifest his ability to take an initial premise and gradually build it into a cogent long-form statement. With some players, specific phrases catch the ear, but with Kuhn it's the satisfying sense at the end of an extended solo that he's built something with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Repeated motifs periodically act as resting points, but they ultimately evolve into more fleshed out musical thoughts. Kuhn also finds ways to liberally quote from other sources throughout his solos, yet they always seem natural rather than cute or unnecessarily wry.

Another reason to recommend the trio is its clear chemistry. Fincke has worked with Kuhn for twenty years, and it shows in his ability to support while simultaneously assert a robust tone and individualistic ideas. Foster, another player who's no stranger to Kuhn, demonstrates a subtle simpatico that is often felt more than heard.

Quiéreme Mucho may not be the kind of forward-thinking session that some of Kuhn's work for the ECM label has been. Still, it's a satisfying effort that asserts the real spirit of the mainstream, distinguishing itself by applying its own aesthetic to a series of Latin tunes that others would likely have treated more literally.

Visit Steve Kuhn on the web.

Track Listing: Andalucia; Bsame Mucho; Siempre En Mi Corazn; Duerme; Quireme Mucho; Tres Palabras.

Personnel: Steve Kuhn: piano; David Finck: bass; Al Foster: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "City Of Poets" CD/LP/Track Review City Of Poets
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Message From Saturn" CD/LP/Track Review Message From Saturn
by James Nadal
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "You'll See" CD/LP/Track Review You'll See
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Chasing Pixies" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing Pixies
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Jinja" CD/LP/Track Review Jinja
by James Nadal
Published: February 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!