11

Steve Khan: Subtext

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Baraka Sasa"

From his obscure gems on Columbia Records—Tightrope (1977), The Blue Man (1978) and Arrow (1979), or the critically acclaimed 1980s Eye Witness recordings, to 2011's Latin-tinged Parting Shot (Tone Center), jazz guitarist Steve Khan continues to deliver his unique artistry—exquisite touch, expressive solos, and warm tonality—that's made his music identifiable. Subtext finds that mastery still intact with a renewed mix of originals and covers.

In addition to Khan's musicianship, he's always been a great interpreter of standards, giving his own personality and insights to Thelonious Monk's music with six-string acoustic guitar in 1981's Evidence and the swinging percussion remake of Wayne Shorter's "Paraphernalia" in 1997's Got My Mental (ESC). One of his reworks in Subtext is cover of Freddie Hubbard's "Baraka Sasa" (Swahili for "blessings now") from the trumpeter's 1974 release High Energy (Columbia).

What was true in 1974 holds true with Khan's rendition: this is unadulterated dance music. Where Hubbard's original painted the dance floor with electric funk in the vein of Herbie Hancock's iconic Headhunters (Columbia, 1973), complete with, Sci-Fi sound effects, and his honey-toned trumpet, Khan's love for Latin music transforms the tune into a percussive party incorporated with Orisha rhythms in the intro, a variation on a Mambo rhythm in the body, and a Charanga, as Khan states, "thrown in for good measure."

Its tight groove is expertly provided by percussionist Marc Quinones, drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Ruben Rodriguez. While the percussion and rhythm section drive the track, Khan's soloing, chording, and colorizations provide the melodic pocket. The guitarist's masterful accompaniment near the end is where the music hits the sweet spot; that in-the-pocket goodness that beckons you to press the repeat button and get on your feet and move.

Track Listing: Bird Food; Blue Subtext; Baraka Sasa; Infant Eyes; Heard; Never Let Me Go; Cada Gota De Mar; Hackensack; Bait And Switch.

Personnel: Steve Khan: guitar; Ruben Rodriguez: electric bass, baby bass; Dennis Chambers; drums; Marc Quinones: timbal, bongo, percussion; Bobby Allende: conga, bongo (1); Randy Brecker: flugelhorn (1); Rob Mounsey: keyboards (2, 5); orchestrations (3, 4, 6, 7), coro (7); Gil Goldstein: accordion (7); Mariana Ingold: vocals (7).

Title: Subtext | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Tone Center


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Hope Of Home" CD/LP/Track Review Hope Of Home
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Gin & Moonlight" CD/LP/Track Review Gin & Moonlight
by James Nadal
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.