Steve Kuhn

Watch What Happens

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Like many pianists, Steve Kuhn seems to put out one quality disc after another but doesn't ever seem to get the attention he deserves. This beautifully recorded studio date from 1968, with bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen, is a good example. Eschewing the typical easygoing approaches to Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens," he launches into a very brisk bossa nova arrangement. J.J. Johnson's gorgeous ballad "Lament" was never in better hands as Kuhn delivers a shimmering but poignant performance; the piece segues into Gary McFarland's unjustly neglected "Once We Loved." A mini-medley of Burt Bacharach songs, "Windows of the World" and "Here I Am," with its unusual chanting introduction, has also stood the test of time. Carla Bley's "Ad Infinitum" delves briefly into the avant-garde but quickly reverts to post-bop. [The Japanese reissue of this long unavailable session, originally on MPS, retains the identical gatefold packaging of the LP, complete with photos and liner notes -- a very nice touch.]

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