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This 1970 recording, shot as part of the French emission "Jazz Harmony," features two bright talents on the international jazz scene. Steve Kuhn is first up, leading a trio comprised of the French maestro Jean-François Jenny Clark on bass and the important jazz-rock drummer Aldo Romano. Kuhn was only a teenager when he played the Boston club circuit alongside Coleman Hawkins and Chet Baker, before graduating to sideman with the likes of Stan Getz and (briefly) John Coltrane. A jazz pianist with both classical and avant-garde leanings, during the performance he admits that he finds it difficult to play his music in the States, preferring "the musical climate in Europe."
The next segment is led by Gary Burton, the singular vibraphonist and long-time Chick Corea collaborator who is here joined by the hypnotic guitarist David Pritchard, jazz-fusion bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Goodwin. Burton was famous for developing the four-mallet playing technique, as opposed to the usual two-mallet style, enabling him to play with the versatility and range of a pianist. With his long hair flopping forward, he unspools remarkable sonic textures accompanied by a dreamy bed courtesy of the rhythm section. A beautiful concert full of quiet virtuosity.
Thursday, February 29, 2024