Steve Korn

Here & Now

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A drummer who is a leader has to be aware not to take advantage of his position by overwhelming his fellow players and listeners with long, non-directional solos, yet at the same time let it be known that this is, in fact, his or her album, often a difficult balance to achieve. Steve Korn handles this problem very nicely by not letting it become a problem. He has gathered a roster of top-flight musicians from the Northwest region, including two who boosted Korn's jazz career, viz. Marc Seales and Jim Knapp. Filling out the sextet is reed player Rob Davis, guitarist Dave Peterson, and bassist Jeff Johnson. They collaborate on a play list of music they like to play, modern material with room for collective and individual creativity. The result is more than 60 minutes of multi-directional jazz with striking harmonies, intriguing melody lines, and many-pronged rhythms. Even though the music has a modern bent, enough symmetry is retained to ensure that the listener stays attached to what's coming from the speakers. "Pee Wee" exemplifies this concept as it moves back and forth between closely knit ensemble work and extemporizing solos built around Seales' sensitive pianism; "Looking Ahead" has somewhat more drive with Davis, Seales, and Knapp trading bop-oriented ideas, with the leader keeping everyone alert with on the mark drum breaks. The album's tour de force is a 13-minute journey through Miles Davis' "Side Car." Here, the leader becomes quite assertive and is appropriately out front on this tune that has elements of both fusion and hard-bop. A notable maiden effort from Korn, Here & Now is recommended.

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