PERFORMER: Steve Kuhn (piano), Joe Lovano (sax), David Finck (bass), Joey Baron (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 270 1114
For eight weeks in 1960 Kuhn played piano in the newly formed John Coltrane Quartet. He says he’ll always cherish that experience. This album of nine Trane compositions, two standards and two Kuhn originals (‘With Gratitude’ and ‘Trance’), is his tribute to arguably the most influential saxophonist in post-bop jazz.
Lovano is not one of those who took only Trane’s freedom and intensity and turned them into circus acts of rapidly blown blathers of notes: here he evokes the essence of Trane’s music, which had at its core a sincere, sensitive emotional component that many fans missed beneath the surface turmoil.
The arrangements demonstrate just how beautiful many of Trane’s tunes were: indeed, according his compositions more reverence than he did. ECM seldom forsakes its North European studios but this session was cut at Avatar in New York and the sound is as clear and detailed as ever. Barry Witherden