Steve Kuhn

The Best Things

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This third trio CD for Kuhn on Reservoir yields much the same refined, intelligent, eminently enjoyable result as the previous efforts. Bassist David Finck and drummer Billy Drummond are totally in tune with the veteran pianist/leader, whose powers are consistently hovering at a high level these days, stoking the post-boppish fires of his youth with the wisdom and savvy of his years of performing and recording. Kuhn's personal growth curve is most prevalent as you hear the daunting touches within a quietly urgent stance on the well-worn and swung standard "The Best Things in Life Are Free." The pianist throws a tricky change-up on "Confirmation," a swiss-cheese version with giant holes carved out of the melody line, using tension and release effectively from the boppish head to relaxed bridge, liberally sprinkling "merrily we roll along" quotes along the way. Three of Kuhn's originals are included; a refreshingly original 12-bar blues "Two by Two," the very slow ballad "Adagio" featuring three note-patterned wordless vocals from Luciana Souza, and his famous kinetic soul waltz for Thurman Munson, "Poem for #15," a seemingly effortless, easily swung piece, the hallmark of this well-rehearsed and seasoned working trio. Also included is A.C. Jobim's lesser-known delicate waltz/ballad "Luiza," and the Bill Evans-identified, wonderfully rendered romantic evergreen "Portrait of Jennie." Another in a string of very consistent, musically advanced, universally listenable documents in Kuhn's thankfully growing discography. Recommended.

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