Steve Kuhn Trio: Live At Birdland (2007)
The disc chronicles the reunion of a stellar trio Kuhn assembled in the 1980s with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster. In 2006, after not performing together for twenty years, the group reunited at New York's Birdland to record this exceptional set.
There's a remarkable rapport and trust among these three veterans, who reportedly did not rehearse at all before these performances, but sound like a well-practiced ensemble. There's nothing showy or rushed here; nearly everything is taken at slow or mid-tempos, however the group swings hard throughout.
Standouts include a nearly eleven-minute exploration of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," a marvelous pairing of Debussy's "La Plus Que Lente" and Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower," and a couple of Kuhn's own fine originals, "Clotilde" and "Two By Two."
Kuhn, at age 69, is a poised and sophisticated pianist with a light, lyrical Bill Evans-like approach. With the help of two similarly accomplished masters, he's made an album that's a capstone to a great career.
Track Listing: If I Were a Bell; Jitterbug Waltz; La Plus Que Lente/Passion Flower; Two By Two; Little Waltz; Lotus Blossom; Stella By Starlight; Slow Hot Wind; Clotilde; Confirmation.
Personnel: Steve Kuhn: piano; Ron Carter: bass; Al Foster: drums.
Record Label: Blue Note Records