A celebration of the magisterial music of John Coltrane. In 1960 Steve Kuhn was the original pianist in John Coltrane's quartet, preceding McCoy Tyner. The album is an homage to Coltrane's music and influence, focussing on... more » music either written by him or strongly associated with him. Particularly fascinating is the scope of material selected, which not only includes tunes Kuhn once played with Coltrane - "Central Park West", "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", "I Want To Talk About You" - but goes right through Coltrane's life, including pieces from the very final months, such as "Configuration" and "Jimmy's Mode"... These tremendous group performances, with Kuhn joined by Joe Lovano, a musician many critics believe to be the world's premier tenor player right now, effectively retrace Coltrane's last decade.« less
A celebration of the magisterial music of John Coltrane. In 1960 Steve Kuhn was the original pianist in John Coltrane's quartet, preceding McCoy Tyner. The album is an homage to Coltrane's music and influence, focussing on music either written by him or strongly associated with him. Particularly fascinating is the scope of material selected, which not only includes tunes Kuhn once played with Coltrane - "Central Park West", "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", "I Want To Talk About You" - but goes right through Coltrane's life, including pieces from the very final months, such as "Configuration" and "Jimmy's Mode"... These tremendous group performances, with Kuhn joined by Joe Lovano, a musician many critics believe to be the world's premier tenor player right now, effectively retrace Coltrane's last decade.
A MASTERFUL COLTRANE TRIBUTE BY STEVE KUHN & TRIO WITH JOE L
RBSProds | Deep in the heart of Texas | 07/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five ENJOYABLE Stars!! A wonderful tribute to John Coltrane by jazz master pianist Steve Kuhn and his trio with special guest tenor sax titan Joe Lovano. Jazz history tells us John Coltrane hired Steve Kuhn as his first pianist just after the "Giant Steps" recording, along with Steve Davis on bass & Pete La Roca (Sims) on drums, as 'Trane was preparing for his first two-week appearance with a working band at the Jazz Gallery in NYC. In a highly-charged 'revival'-like atmosphere, the audience response caused the gig to be extended many weeks. Kuhn manned the piano chair of this exciting group for 8 weeks before McCoy Tyner joined the group, with Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison joining later. Kuhn says working with Coltrane, his music, and energy is "something that will stay with me and has stayed with me as long as I live." For 5 decades, Kuhn has remained at the top of his 'two-handed pianist' game, among the greatest pianists and trio leaders in jazz history with longtime trio mates like Ron Carter and Al Foster. Tenor sax colossus Joe Lovano is also influenced by Coltrane, as well as Sonny Rollins, and upon first hearing him decades ago I immediately could tell his synthesis of influences was creating a new important tenor sax voice. He has since gone on to be a relentless musical explorer, like Kuhn, who has soared to the top of tenor sax jazz polls many times, certifying him among the best of all time. Mr Kuhn's trio is rounded out by two more longtime talented stablemates: the fiery Joey Baron on drums and David Finck's crucial bass underpinning. Kuhn has selected a wide spectrum of Coltrane music from the early 'running the changes' days, to the Hartman 'ballad days', to the "controlled free jazz" period and 'Trane's final 'sunship' period that was headed out of the known musical universe at the time of Coltrane's untimely death at age 40. One of Coltrane's favorite standards, "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", and Kuhn's own "Trance" round out the set.
The 'best of the best' begins with a sizzling "Song of Praise'' with Kuhn igniting a masterful solo and demonstrating his amazing ambidexterity while digging deep into the blues, showing what probably attracted Trane to his playing. Lovano's solo is no less masterful showing some Coltrane roots as a teaser but in the final analysis it's pure "Joe". "Jimmy's Mode" (for Garrison) allows Finck to go arco and demonstrate some strong imaginative solo plucking. "Spiritual" has Lovano playing some deep, heartfelt tárogató, a perfect alternative to Coltrane's soprano sax. Steve Kuhn is one of jazz' premier piano balladeers and he unleashes his arsenal on the trio's "I Want To Talk About You". An edgy "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" is pure jazz fire with Baron and Finck pushing the front line into some memorable solos with Lovano smearing 'glisses', avoiding Trane's 'sheets of sound' approach (straight to my iPod). "Like Sonny" is Trane's song dedicated to Sonny Rollins and is a great quartet performance. "Central Park West", arguably Coltrane's most recorded composition, is a thing of passionate beauty (another for my iPod.) "Living Space" perfecty captures Coltrane's spirituality period with Lovano's great solo over Kuhn's shimmering chords, with 'Trane's influence peeking around the corners. This tribute is a great set of hard-swinging cookers, beautiful impressionistic ballads, and Coltrane classics by two jazz masters who know their Coltrane well and it gets my Highest Recommendation. Five "HUGE" Stars (This review is based on an iTunes download and the "Traneumentary" podcast which also gets my highest recommendation. For an overview of Steve Kuhn's recordings, go to: http://www.amazon.com/WELCOME-TO-THE-WORLD-OF-JAZZ-PIANIST-STEVE-KUHN/lm/R1F3KXQOY58W3N/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full )"
Douglas Groothuis | 08/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although not familiar with Mr. Kuhn's work, I had a veridical hunch that this recording would be excellent. Why?
1. Joe Lovano, one of the most distinctive and virtuosic saxophonists of our time played on it.
2. Mr. Kuhn had played briefly with John Coltrane in early 1960.
3. It was the music of John Coltrane.
4. ECM, the incomparable, was the label.
All the musicians have a deep sensitivity for this music, which they play respectfully but creatively. You feel the spirit of Trane, but as it is reflected throught the prism of each of these superb musicians. Mr. Kuhn is a rich and sometimes surprising pianist. Mr. Lovano has gotten completely inside these pieces and Trane's playing as well. He is confident in his own voice, yet inspired by the feel of Trane. Mr. Baron is highly creative and plays the difficult no-time pieces flawlessly.
The band plays material from all of Trane's moods, including some of the more difficult late-period music, which takes considerable courage to play. They execute it all flawlessly.
There is beauty in this world. Let us give thanks and enjoy it."
Adventure and Excitement
Karl W. Nehring | Ostrander, OH USA | 03/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording was one of my very favorites from 2009. Prior to auditioning it, I was a little doubtful of how well Joe Lovano's tenor would fit in with Kuhn's trio sound, but once that sound started pouring out of my speakers, I was immediately hooked. The opening cut had a particularly nostalgia-laden meaning for me, as John Coltrane's song "Welcome" was the closing cut on Carlos Santana's Welcome album. Although I had not heard the Santana version of the song in probably three decades, hearing this new version of it immediately brought a flood of (excuse the unintended pun) welcome memories to my musical mind.
As the album's title implies, most of the cuts on this recording are by and/or associated with the late John Coltrane, with whom Kuhn briefly served as pianist some 50 years ago. Lovano does not attempt to directly imitate Coltrane's sound, but he does an excellent job of evoking Coltrane's spirit. The whole group seems to approach this project not just with reverence, but with a genuine sense of adventure and excitement as the reinterpret this iconic music. A special highlight to my ears is their version of "Central Park West," which has a wonderful feeling of tenderness to it that is touching without sounding sentimental. "Song of Praise" is another wonderful interpretation, with some soulful blowing by Lovano.
The CD closes with Kuhn's trio playing his own composition, "Trance," which seems reflective of the spell under which the music on this recording was made. Although I have made mention mostly of Kuhn and Lovano, I must close by pointing out that bassist David Finck and drummer Joey Baron also contribute significantly to the proceedings, as does engineer James Farber, who does a superb job of capturing these powerful sounds."
Accurate and Acute
Allan Suchinsky | Kensington, MD | 12/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful tribute to John Coltrane's music. Is it a copy? No. Does it reflect Coltrane's depth and beauty of composition? Absolutely. Kuhn lived with this music when he worked with JC in 1960. He convey's the feel and beauty of Coltrane's sound like few others can. Also, Joe Lovano magnificently wraps himself in the master's coat by conveying the depth and sensitivity of Coltrane while playing in the unique fashion that is his. David Finck and Joey Baron prove the ultimate complement to this heartfelt tribute."
Some of my favorites are here
Speedy | Fl, MO USA | 12/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This has some of my favorite things in the Coltrane recorded (or recorded live) output. And, no, it does not include 'my favorite things'. It starts off with 'Welcome' a tune i loved played by the Santana Band when i was a kid, not even knowing it was a Coltrane tune. Then it goes easy like a river through mostly Coltrane tunes. Two tunes are by Kuhn, nine by Coltrane and a couple of standards that Coltrane probably played too (but i am not sure why they were picked in this playlist...what i do know is they fit perfectly with the others). This has some of the most distinguished cats in the jazz world. David Fink is probably the least known but has been with Kuhn for about 15 years at least as i own another Kuhn cd from the 90s and he plays there. Tremendous acoustic bass chops, elegance and intelligence. Kuhn works on the more 'romantic' side of the piano while the others keep things tight or open and free, depending on the tune. Lovano is, as always, just great and a joy to listen to. Great cd, and a must if you are a Coltrane or Kuhn fan."