495

Steve Khan: The Green Field

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Khan: The Green Field Nine years have passed since guitarist Steve Khan last released an album as a leader. But he hasn't been inactive, touring with artists like Terri Lyne Carrington and Greg Osby and co-leading the Caribbean Jazz Project. However, it's been far too long since he's released an album putting his immediately recognizable style front and centre.

Khan may not have the cachet of peers like Pat Metheny and John Scofield, but from the first notes of the recording, it's clear that this is nobody but Steve Khan. His distinctive, at times almost pianistic approach makes his less prominent position mysterious. Hopefully The Green Field, his most fully realized record to date, will reach the greater audience he so richly deserves.

Khan reunites with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jack DeJohnette, who last played together on Got My Mental (Evidence, 1996). While the trio has only worked together during rehearsals and recording sessions for these two releases, these musicians share a remarkable chemistry. Nowhere is this more evident than on the free bop of the eighteen-minute title track. Also featuring percussionist/vocalist Manolo Badrena, a key collaborator who was instrumental in Khan's Eyewitness group, "The Green Field" may be the freest piece that Khan has ever recorded. Though clear motifs strategically emerge, it's as much about texture as thematic development, which is all the more remarkable during the moments when the quartet magically coalesces, before heading off into greater uncharted territories.

The title track's liberated free play may feel new to Khan's fans, but rest assured, his strong sense of groove is also in full force. The modal "El Viñón opens with a vamp featuring Khan's unique voicings and DeJohnette playing all around the time, but ultimately resolves into a middle section where Patitucci and DeJohnette swing amiably behind Khan's relaxed, behind- the-beat linearity. The guitarist leans to carefully constructed lines that selflessly serve the music, but every now and then he lets loose with lightening speed, just to let you know the chops are there when needed. His ability to seamlessly intersperse strong melodies and vivid chordal phrases has become a defining characteristic, and he's never done it better.

The same can be said for Khan's writing. "Fist in Glove is a blues so radically altered harmonically as to be nearly unrecognizable, while "Cosecha lo que Has Sembrado, with guest percussionists Ralph Irizarry and Robert Quintero, viscerally mines the Afro-Cuban territory that's been part of Khan's musical continuum for years.

Equally remarkable is Khan's reinvention of material by Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter. Cleverly integrating Shorter's "Sanctuary and "Nefertiti into a seamless whole, Khan demonstrates an uncanny ability to distinctly interpret well-known material. If it wasn't so familiar, you'd think he'd written it himself.

Maybe Khan's avoidance of musical grandstanding explains why he's never achieved the popularity of his peers. But The Green Field is mature and imaginative, showcasing him at the top of his game.


Track Listing: El Vi��n; Congeniality; Riot; Fist in Glove; Cosecha lo que Has Sembrado; Sanctuary/Nefertiti; Eronel; You Stepped Out of a Dream; The Green Field.

Personnel: Steve Khan: guitar; John Pattitucci: acoustic bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Manolo Badrena; percussion, voice; Ralph Irizarry: timbales (3,5,6,8); Roberto Quintero: congas, percussion (3,5,6,8).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Tone Center | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

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 "Surrounded by the Night" CD/LP/Track Review Surrounded by the Night
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Cuts" CD/LP/Track Review Cuts
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Rumba Con Flores" CD/LP/Track Review Rumba Con Flores
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "Basement Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Basement Blues
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano" CD/LP/Track Review EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano
by Doug Collette
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "A Kenton Celebration" CD/LP/Track Review A Kenton Celebration
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 28, 2016

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!