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Countdown

Steve Kuhn

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Album Review

A neglected figure in the overall scheme of modern jazz, perhaps this magnificent recording from the veteran pianist Kuhn will somewhat salve that wound. He is masterfully impressionistic, skillful as any, extra-lyrical, and his talent is in full array with substantive help from bassist David Finck and drummer Billy Drummond. In his flowery liner notes, Rafi Zabor refers to Kuhn's sound as that of utter "refracted beauty" — a concise and apt a description for Kuhn's consistently brilliant musings. The bulk of the program is standards, reharmonized as the quick-witted John Coltrane title track, the lilting endless melody streams tacked on to "Four," or the "Milestones"-tagged version of "Speak Low" showing that as Kuhn is deep, he's also clever. Adapting "Why Did I Choose You?" as if walking on eggshells with a slight samba beat, Kuhn's dancing figures are steps he invents. Finck's singing bass solo accents the laid-back Benny Carter evergreen "When Lights Are Low," and Kuhn's take on "She's Funny That Way" expands further on this already exceptional melody. There are three of Kuhn's originals, totaling a mere 12 minutes. A recap on the piece from his Sheila Jordan phase, "Last Year's Waltz" gets a regret-filled rubato treatment seen through lavender-colored glasses. "Chalet" is as elegiac as any snow covered mountain home, while "Tomorrow's Son" is a rhapsodic, free entity with more cascading piano. Steve Swallow's "Wrong Together" is also included, weeping with even-keeled swing and repeated inquisitions as to why. This music clearly inspires all kinds of lush, regal imagery. It is Kuhn at his best, one of the more soul-stirring piano trio CDs of recent hearing, and a joy to listen to more than just once. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 24 March 1938 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Steve Kuhn has had an interesting career. A talented jazz pianist, he has worked in many types of settings through the years. He began classical piano lessons when he was five, studied with Madame Chaloff, and accompanied her son, baritonist Serge Chaloff, on some gigs when the pianist was 14. He freelanced in Boston as a teenager, graduated from Harvard, and moved to New York where he worked with Kenny Dorham's group (1959-1960). Kuhn was the original pianist in John Coltrane's Quartet, playing...
Full Bio
Countdown, Steve Kuhn
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  • $16.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 09 November 1998

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