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Life's Backward Glances

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iTunes Review

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.


iTune's desscription of this album is incorrect. Steve Slagle is the reed player, not Swartz.


Born: March 24, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A highly regarded jazz pianist and composer, Steve Kuhn is known for his sophisticated ear for harmony and lyrical, motivic approach to improvisation. Emerging from the Boston jazz scene, Kuhn's adaptive, forward-thinking skills have found him moving across various genres from swinging acoustic post-bop to classical-influenced chamber jazz and the avant-garde. Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1938 to Hungarian immigrant parents, Kuhn first became interested in music at a young age while listening...
Full Bio
Life's Backward Glances, Steve Kuhn
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  • $24.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 01, 2008

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