Steve Kuhn: The Island
Steve Kuhn (piano)
Oceans in the Sky (Owl SSC 3508)
Recorded: Paris, September 20-21, 1989
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Steve Kuhn has had the fortune of working intimately with some of the greatest bass players of his time. Over his career he has worked with Scott LaFaro, Steve Swallow, Buster Williams and Ron Carter to name a few. So it is extremely rewarding to hear this thoughtful and at times brilliant pianist working with yet another bass icon, Miroslav Vitous. In this magically sensitive Ivan Lins composition, Kuhn and Vitous show their remarkable simpatico. Kuhn is a practitioner of the Russian technique of piano playing as taught by Madame Chaloff, the famed teacher and mother of saxophonist Serge Chaloff. His command of the entire keyboard is used to great effect and is an art somehow missing from the repertoire of most pianists today. Vitous's European sensibilities mesh perfectly with Kuhn's approach to this song. His dark low-register basslines subtly accentuate direction and prod ever so lightly. Kuhn's dancing right hand glides effortlessly through one musical thought to the next. The effect is an example of true musical conversation not often achieved, with Kuhn and Vitous seeming never to exhaust the new ideas that emerge from each other's wellspring of musical knowledge. All the while Romano's drum and brush work is laid back and unobtrusive. This is an especially beautiful rendition of a classic love song by a trio that was fortuitously brought together for this date.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello