on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2023 21 Jan

ECM Double Take (27) with Steve Kuhn

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments





Two covers, and one record I love. (Click on them, enlarge!) After the Big Three left their marks with solo piano albums that hammered one milestone after the other into the road of instant classics, Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, and Chick Corea, two gentlemen followed on their tracks, Richard Beirach and Steve Kuhn. I remember that „Ecstasy“ delivered an enchanting atmosphere from the first encounter onwards. Mr. Kuhn knew the grand gestures of Russian masters like Tchaikowski and their sense of drama and upheaval, and self-vonsciously transported well-dosed elements of it into his elegant and deep performances. Along with a free floating romanticism. The gift of the moment. The album was filled with melodic seductiveness, yet never lost its sense for restraintment in the right moments. The cover paintings of Maya Weber in the 70‘s may have raised some eyebrows, but in the long run they remain a strangeley compelling company to the musics inside.

i think of „Playground“ as one of the few ECM albums of the first 15 years of the label I haven‘t owned or even heard. And I didn‘t look for some clever crash course in filling up holes lately. As far as I remember, Sheila Jordan isn‘t a singer that ever rang a bell. That doesn‘t mean anything, beware, I only like one album of Ella Fitzgerald. A certain kind of jazz singing simply doesn‘t kill me softly. But when by chance I stumbled on this cover, it  made me think: I love it so much, that I would normally have bought the album for that cover only, knowing you can‘t really go wrong with Mr. Kuhn (except one of his later works for ECM with piano and strings that was utterly boring). This cover photo is so inviting, it makes me look around – and sigh: I would love to have been there and change places with the woman in the foreground. Or sit beside her. Lovely. Just put on this record, and tell where its sends you!

This entry was posted on Samstag, 21. Januar 2023 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Karsten:

    Eine meiner maximal Top-5-Allzeitfavoriten von ECM ist Steve Kuhns „Mostly Coltrane“ von 2009. Kuhn, David Finck, Joey Baron und Joe Lovano spielen hier wunderbar, homogen und mitreißend. Im Sound kann man baden. Therapeutische Musik.

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Danke für den Tip, ist mir völlig entgangen oder entfallen.

    „i think of „Mostly Coltrane“ as one of the few ECM albums of the last 15 years of the label I do not have here or even heard.“ 😉

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