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Life's Backward Glances

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Editors’ Notes

In the ‘70s, Steve Kuhn recorded a number of albums for ECM, including the three that make up the reissue, Life’s Backward Glances. Here the spotlight is on the pianist’s original compositions. On one of the albums, Motility, Kuhn leads a quartet that includes saxophonist Steve Slagle, bassist Harvie Swartz, and drummer Michael Smith. Kuhn’s playing can be intense, but the album has a light sound overall, thanks in part to Swartz’s light, melodic touch on soprano, alto, and flute. Playground features a set of Kuhn’s vocal pieces. Swartz, once again, is on bass, Bob Moses plays drums, and vocalist Sheila Jordan brings her unusual touch to the songs. (Jordan and Kuhn co-led a band for a while in the ‘70s.) Ecstasy, which was recorded in 1974, finds Kuhn alone at the keyboard, his playing by turns high-energy and lyrical. There is some overlapping of material on the three albums, and it’s interesting to compare, say, the airy instrumental version of “Deep Tango” on Motility with the mysterious vocal take on Playground.

Customer Reviews

nice concept!

the mood is thoughtful and introspective. nice record. also just checked out Eddie Skuller's tribute to Jimmy Scott.


Born: March 24, 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
Life's Backward Glances, Steve Kuhn
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  • $24.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Nov 14, 2008

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