Steve Kuhn Trio: Wisteria (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Steve Kuhn Trio: Pastorale
Steve Kuhn Trio: Wisteria (ECM/Ode)

Elegance in piano playing is usually the description reserved for the exclusive use of reviewers about Bill Evans, but here Steve Kuhn makes a strong claim on thoughtful pieces such as the title track, Romance and the lovely Pastorale where (I am guessing, my CD came with no cover) bassist Steve Swallow plays a soft and enticing guitar-like melody.

In fact, if it weren't for Joey Baron's geometric and impulsive/propulsive drumming in places, much of this album might have come from the late Fifties/earlySixties at that interface of melodic piano trio balladry and hard bop.

As with so many of the great piano trios -- where intuitive understanding is obligatory -- these players have known each other for decades. Kuhn and Swallow go back to the Sixties themselves (when they were in Art Farmer's band whose tune is the title track here), and Baron and Kuhn played together on the more recent Mostly Coltrane album which was acclaimed at Elsewhere three years ago here

The surprising thing is then, this is the first time this particular trio has recorded together, and -- with Kuhn being 74 -- you have to wonder what took them so long.

The result are often quietly spectacular and certainly enticing. Consider the understatement on the delightful Morning Dew which swings like a New York clubland scene in '62 when Sammy Davis Jnr and others of the cooler-than-thou school are in the room.

Incidentally, Baron was on this session the same week as he worked with guitarist John Abercrombie on the equally elegant Within a Song

Kuhn explores some of his earlier compositions (notably Adagio, Pastorale and Promises Kept which he previously recorded with strings) but in this company everything come up fresh and sounding like a newly minted classic album.

Old school yes, but a sheer delight.

Like the sound of this? Then start your further listening here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

PALLE MIKKELBORG PROFILED (2013): Another man with a horn

PALLE MIKKELBORG PROFILED (2013): Another man with a horn

The curious thing about the career of Denmark's acclaimed jazz trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg is that after 25-years as a professional -- and at the top of his game -- he came to wide international... > Read more

Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Marc Johnson, Elaine Elias: Swept Away (ECM/Ode)

Longtime followers of the ECM label will register that this one ticks any number of the right boxes: the line-up of pianist Elaine Elias, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Joey Baron (a working trio in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Wilko's Solid Senders: Highway 61 (1978)

Wilko's Solid Senders: Highway 61 (1978)

The soon-to-be-deceased Wilko Johnson -- diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 15 months ago -- is not only going out with dignity but a bit of style. He has been saying the great thing about knowing... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Phil Somervell of the Datsuns

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Phil Somervell of the Datsuns

We still get excited when New Zealand acts do well overseas – recently Gin and the current coverage of Lorde – but when the Datsuns out of Cambridge made the cover of the NME in late... > Read more