Monday, July 6, 2009

Tuesday July, 7: Steve Kuhn at Birdland

Early in his career, Steve Kuhn performed with tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. Though there have been countless gigs and recordings since then, and Kuhn is far more often in the role of leader these days, the pianist revisits his experience as a sideman to ‘Trane on his latest ECM CD Mostly Coltrane .

On the disc, Kuhn deftly negotiates the jazz equivalent of a tightrope act: interpreting classics by one of jazz’s greatest figures while still maintaining his own musical personality. Happily, none of Kuhn’s singular soloing style and hallmark voicings are subsumed by homage.

Joined by saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist David Finck, and drummer Billy Drummond, Kuhn plays a CD release party tonight at Birdland in New York City. Sets are at 8:30 and 11; $25 for music.

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