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The great jazz pianist Steve Kuhn tackles well-known standards and not so familiar compositions by performers such as Brazilian guitarist Dori Caymmi, bassist Steve Swallow and a contribution from saxophonist Bob Mintzer on Seasons of Romance.
The opener, saxophonist Bob Mintzer's piece titled, "Six Gun" is an ebullient, mid-tempo swing while Kuhn's easily-recognizable or patented elegance and signature style is notably portrayed from the onset. Kuhn's flair and casual poise ride atop the skillful rhythmic articulations by veteran and highly esteemed bassist George Mraz in collaboration with the inimitable jazz session drummer, Al Foster. Here, Kuhn's intelligent comping and sweeping lines aid Mintzer's breezy and lyrically rich tenor sax solo. Kuhn displays his romantic side on Dori Caymmi's touching, "Romance" while trumpeter Tom Harrell joins Kuhn, Mraz and Foster on his original composition, "Visions of Gaudi." The trumpeter's majestic yet smooth, sleek tone and poignant phrasing equalize Kuhn's reflective or soul-searching performance as they comfortably dance through another persuasively memorable composition. Kuhn is in stellar form on Steve Swallow's piece, "Remember" while demonstrating impeccable technique and emotive characteristics via stylish utilization of tremolo, subtle inflections, swirling chord progressions yet most of all, the remarkable synergy he and Harrell enjoy as the primary soloists. Kuhn directs the rhythms with an active left hand on his swinging original "Looking Back" as the pianist and Harrell once again engage in smooth, airy interplay while Kuhn pushes and prods the band in a quiet sort of way!
Steve Kuhn's remarkable inventiveness, truly distinctive sound and style, melodic gifts and cultivated approach place him among the vanguard of modern day jazz pianists. Seasons of Romance proves that notion in elevated fashion!
Personnel: Steve Kuhn: piano: Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone; Tom Harrell: trumpet; George Mraz: bass; Al Foster: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.