....and this just in to the Newsroom:
JUST RELEASED - MAY 13TH, 2022! When I was writing the "Island Letter" Saga for the website, I was speaking about this very unique collaboration and performance with the great vocalist Mark Kibble (Take 6), and I posed the question, "What does one do with a one song project? How can you protect yourself and the work?" No answer appeared immediately. But, as this project took well over one year to complete, a situation appeared, and I felt most grateful to have been presented with this option, this glorious opportunity.
Bassist Jimmy Haslip and I have been friends since Jimmy, Russell Ferrante and I played together on a U.S. tour in 1978. That now logs in at some 45+ years. It should not seem that remarkable that a friendship, both personal and musical would be able to sustain itself for all of that time. With the obvious successes of the Yellowjackets, Jimmy has gone way beyond that work and extended himself into other areas of music and the music business. It wasn't all that long ago that he struck-up a friendship with bassist Joseph Patrick Moore, who had launched his own label, Blue Canoe Records, and over time, Jimmy became somewhere between a consultant and a full-fledged A&R man for the label - finding talent and albums that Joseph could release. The label has been quite a wonder with very "artist friendly" agreements that end-up serving everyone well. Due to the exceptional nature of my one-song project with Mark Kibble, I asked Jimmy if he thought that Joseph might be willing to release a "single" (a one-song project) on his label. Jimmy, of course, told me that Blue Canoe had never done such a thing before, but he would investigate this possibility with Joseph - and, lo and behold, without having heard a note of music, Joseph agreed to do a digital only release of our "Island Letter"! Needless to say, I was thrilled, and greatly relieved because, at the very least, all of the hard work that Mark and I, alongside brilliant players like: Rob Mounsey (Keys & Orchestrations); Rubén Rodríguez (5-String Elec. Bass), and Marc Quiñones (Timbal, Conga, Bongó & Perc.), the "work" would be, in a sense protected - in the most basic ways.
The point is that, as musicians/artists, none of us want to just "give away" our music, our work, because people, young and old, think that everything should be for free! Well NO! It should not be for free. People should have to pay for the work. But, of course, since the personal computer and file sharing came along - the genie has long since been out of the bottle, and we're all screwed with no reasonable solution to this in sight. As I do not want to be my own record label and go through all of the effort and work to maintain it - which would mean standing in long lines at the post office to mail out physical CDs - the option of having Blue Canoe Records releasing the "single" (the term used by many these days, but an uncomfortable choice of words for someone my age) was the best of all possible situations. I can only say that I am so very grateful to both Jimmy and Joseph for taking on this one most singular song!
This song, "Island Letter" was composed by Shuggie Otis and appeared on his 1974 LP, "INSPIRATION IMAGINATION. Back then, writers chose to categorize his music as Psychedelic Soul. In preparation for a possible release, I had done a lot of non-musical work in advance, and part of that was to assemble a series of panels of images that would tell "the story" of "Island Letter" - images that are conjured up within the words of his lyrics. Those images mixed with photos of the artists and musicians, cover images and panels of information were all readied for the eventual release. I have learned that having a tool like this - even though a non-performing tool - enables the record label to better do its job - even if that is extremely minimalist. With the help of another great musician, drummer Jimmy Branly, we were able to assemble and edit this Video to accompany the music - as many people find it easier to listen while viewing something that is almost cinematic in nature. And so, here we are ready to present this video as part of the release.
On the road to this release, I did a really crazy thing, against all the sage advice that I was given, and my own knowledge of the state of the record business - AND, worst of all, that, in essence, NO ONE owns a CD player any longer, much less a real stereo system. And, of course, computers no longer come with disc drives, cars don't have CD players, etc.!!! What does one do? Well, I had some special "COLLECTOR'S EDITION" CDs manufactured of "Island Letter" and Blue Canoe Records has made them available via their site. Just click on the link if you're interested, and you'll be there!!!
- COMING SOON - NEW CD REISSUE! (5/20/22): It seems that I often begin some of these tales by stating how strange it can be that the journey of seeing an 'idea' actually become a reality can take so much time. In this case, what has just happened in 2022 was an idea, or a suggestion that began in some correspondence with Terry Wachsmuth the president of Wounded Bird Records, one of the most respected names in the reissues area of Jazz and Jazz-related music. Terry and I began a dialogue about my 1980 Arista/Novus recording "EVIDENCE" on November 26th, 2015. At that time, and for the 6 years that followed, it just seemed that seeing a CD reissue of this album was really a low priority for Sony Music. Terry just could not get them to respond to his repeated inquiries on this subject. I wasn't aware that all of this was going on, so lucky for me, it wasn't hurtful.
But then, suddenly, or so it seemed to me, Terry wrote to me again about "EVIDENCE" and a possible CD reissue on November 23rd, 2021. He asked me if I would PLEASE personally write to the key person at Sony Music to see if, hearing from the "artist" might get the ball finally rolling. Well, I wrote to that person and, miracle of miracles, things finally began to move in a positive direction. And now, here we are.
As this is an album that has meant so much to me, seeing this 1st reissue on CD in some 30 years is a cause for great celebration. The album was originally recorded during the LP Era, and subsequently when the CD Era began, "EVIDENCE" was never released in that new format, except in Japan. It was not until 1990 when the Arista/Novus catalog had landed at RCA, that they decided to release a series of CD reissues, including "EVIDENCE." Those CDs were packaged with probably the most unattractive cover design artwork that I can ever recall. Of course, none of us, as the "artists" were ever consulted about any of this. I have written this before, but this is typical! The artist is almost always the last to know about everything. And people, the public continue to believe that this is not so. Well, they're wrong, very wrong!
Though it is certainly not always the case, for me, working with Terry Wachsmuth and Wounded Bird Records has been a pleasure. When a problem has arisen, we have done our best to work it through in the spirit of just making certain that we were going to have a release of this reissue. We have been able to work things out amicably, and that's been great. The look of this package does its best to retain the original look with the artwork, a pen & ink sketch by Jean-Michel Folon front and center as it should be. Terry was able to recreate Michael Cuscuna's liner notes along with all of the credits in a larger font size inside the CD booklet, making it much more legible.
When the original LP was mastered by the great Greg Calbi (Sterling Sound), he gave me the option of including a 'spiral' for each track of the 9-song Thelonious Monk Medley which occupied all of Side B. Even though the piece plays through as one long piece of work - as was the intention - then and now - a DJ, if he/she so desired could access any song within the medley individually - a nice option for radio. When the CD Era began, "EVIDENCE" was only available on CD in Japan - and they did a wonderful job packaging it, and the Monk Medley plays through as one performance, but, each track can be accessed individually - though that was never my intention! However, when the personal computer was born, and eventually iTunes was created, problems with the artist's vision and the way iTunes was set-up were about to arise.
What happened was that iTunes would automatically separate ALL of the songs individually, and some scheming by the computer owner was necessary to enable the Monk Medley to play through as one piece. So, when Sony Music, the newest owner of the Arista/RCA catalog, was going to eventually put everything up @ iTunes - which was certainly a good thing - I desperately wanted the Monk Medley to be presented as ONE PIECE, Track . And so, in mastering for this format, that is exactly what we did. And, I can tell you that I very much appreciated the cooperation of those whom I worked alongside to make that happen.
For this reissue, thanks to Terry Wachsmuth, to avoid any of the aforementioned issues, Terry allowed me to present the Monk Medley in the sequence as one piece of work. This is how I've always wanted listeners to hear it, and that is the way that it is going to be. Of course, I fully realize that, these days, most music listeners can barely allot the time to listen to one 3-minute song without being interrupted by something - usually their damn smartphones. So, I hold no illusions that people are going to actually listen to an 18:30 piece of music. But if there is that one person in 100,000 who will actually do it, know that I am reaching out to YOU!
NOTE: None of this would have ever been possible without the help and encouragement of: Doug Epstein, who recorded and helped to produce this album; Warren Bernhardt and Steve Backer. I'm so grateful to you all.
In 1988 or thereabouts, I was invited by the great Mike Mainieri to participate in a new Steps Ahead album that was to be entitled "N.Y.C."(Capitol), and during those sessions, I was introduced to a young Norwegian saxophonist/composer, Bendik Hofseth. My good fortune in making this particular connection became glowingly true when we were stating the melody together to his composition "Absolutely Maybe," a rather free piece with a very Norwegian and/or northern European sensibility. I have never forgotten that, because I felt that I had encountered a kindred spirit, and that we could play melodies like this - and allow them to breath while still phrasing together, and as individuals. Another piece of Bendik's, from that same album, "Lust for Life" conveys a similar aesthetic but in a different way. I am reminded of what a great experience this was, and I am moved to mention the engineering of Garry Rindfuss, who somehow sensed what the right audio direction was for these pieces.!"
In the 30+ years that have come and gone since then, including a 2nd Steps Ahead album that we did together, "YIN-YANG"(NYC Records) [Please listen to Bendik's "Okapi" from this album], I have been thinking about many things - musical and otherwise - and, when it comes to assessing a musical "voice" - and that includes one's own - if one has one - I often ask myself when listening to various music and artists: "Is that a musical voice that I would want to hear playing any particular melody?" And when the answer comes back to me as "No!" That is, in the end, a really sad moment. It is not something that I would want to say about anything or anyone. But, when I listen to Bendik playing, and how he states a melody, any melody - I am reminded of the exact opposite, because HIS is a voice that I would welcome hearing playing any melody - any time!!!
As I am writing this on Sunday evening, December 26th, 2021 - earlier today I was engaged in some wonderful conversation with a dear friend from Caracas, Venezuela, singer/songwriter Guillermo Carrasco, who, alongside many, shares a very particular open sensibility about music and art - ALL music and art. As our conversation was closing for this day, while trying to make a point, he happened to send me a YouTube link for, of all things, a Bendik Hofseth piece titled: "Underground Inventor"(to Fela Kuti), where he shares the artist credits with guitarist Eivind Aarset, a superb texturalist and inventor of soundscapes. Before I had heard a note, I was struck by the beauty of the album cover photograph for their album titled: "ROOTS"(C + C). I loved the stark nature of this photo as it communicates something that each person can take away something very personal from it.
And so with that, I listened, and once again I was transported by the lyrical and atmospheric beauty of Bendik's music - his usage of textures and space. It was music that breathed, a quality that I have always aspired to. Inspired by what I heard, I immediately went to iTunes and purchased both "ROOTS" and an earlier album, "TRUNKS"(C + C). The latter also features a beautiful photo, I'm guessing of a Norwegian forest. Spectacular.
While listening to all of this newer music from Bendik, I was reminded of a guiding thought and principle of mine - to which I aspire - and that is that.... Music can be in the abstract, presenting moments of dissonance, perhaps even improvised clutter - but, given all of that, it can STILL sound BEAUTIFUL - it does NOT have to sound ugly to be 'artistic'! I am often reminded of the old arguments about the presentation of audio. When one asks the question, what does an instrument really sound like? Does any instrument really sound like it does if you were to place your ear right next to the bell of the saxophone or trumpet, or as close as you can get to the speaker cone(s) of an amplifier or speaker cabinet for a guitar, or placing your head just above the bass drum and in between the tom-toms and snare - is that what a drum kit sounds like? Well, I suppose it does, but..... In the end, is THAT was 'music' really sounds like? I don't know, but I would argue that......
For me, music, as a whole, perhaps sounds like what it might sound like to the person seated in the 5th row of smallish club - or somewhere between the 10th and 25th rows of small concert hall or auditorium. It should be a blend of all of those points of audio impressions. I am not saying that everything has to be swimming in reverb - but I am saying that certain dry perspectives of "audio vérité" do not exactly INVITE the listener INTO the music - and that, after all, is where we want them to be. We want the listener to BE a part of the music - not to be excluded from it.
I would only say that as 2021 comes to its merciful close, and we all can look forward to the new year of 2022 - if anyone is motivated by what I have written here, please give a listen to what Bendik Hofseth has been doing. For me, it serves as motivation to work harder, and to just do better - if I can.
Wishing everyone the best of everything in 2022 - especially good health, and the spirit of trying to work things out TOGETHER as best as we all can.
In conjunction with the mid-November publication of guitarist Neff Irizarry's "CONTEMPORARY LATIN JAZZ GUITAR"(Sher Music), KHAN'S KORNER 1 is proud to present Neff's transcription of Steve Khan's solo on "Gracinha" which was one of several improvised pieces that appeared on CD#2 in Steve's own book from 1996, "CONTEMPORARY CHORD KHANCEPTS"(Alfred Music). Steve was honored to have been an oft-mentioned part of this book, which is certain to become the go-to resource for Latin Jazz guitar. It stands as a most scholarly endeavor worthy of the highest praise for research and inclusiveness. To best celebrate the publication of Neff's book, Steve has written a detailed analysis of the "Gracinha" solo which is sure to stand as one of Steve's best.
The newly written analysis of that same solo, along with a freshly augmented soundclip, special for this webpage, appear there as well. Though this solo was played some 25 years ago, it represents as one of the best examples demonstrating the integration of free-flowing lines and chordal passages that stand within the same linear soundscape carrying the same melodic weight. As always, there is a story about the piece and the circumstances of its recording. Some 4 years later, what was once "Gracinha" became the more fully realized composition "Charanga, Sí, Sí" which appeared on the 2000 album from the Caribbean Jazz Project, "NEW HORIZONS." Here's hoping that everyone will take a moment to enjoy this presentation.
As Neff's book was still in the early stage of production, I tried my best to help him to come-up with a cover concept that might best represent the serious nature of the work contained within the book's pages. Often times, music instruction books, or method books, have the worst covers that one could imagine. I would imagine that the theory, from the business side of things, is that musicians do not buy such books for their covers - only for the content. So, why invest in an artistic cover? Point taken, but.... Somehow in the midst of trying to be of some help, it led me down a path where, quite by accident, I rediscovered the abstract expressionist work of the brilliant Adolph Gottlieb. And this carried me further to create another page for the website about this very journey that turned into a visual homage to a very small portion of the works of Adolph Gottlieb. It became a real labor of love.
The miracles were still not finished, as Neff's publisher, the great Chuck Sher suddenly wrote to me directly and asked me if I would want to be a part of his recently launched series of books: THE JAZZ SONGBOOK SERIES. Each book contains 20 songs by the composer, and is only available as a digital download. There would be no physical books. The 1st series contained the music of 10 composers, many of whom are good friends mine and/or admired artists to be sure. I'm speaking of: Ralph Towner; Steve Swallow; Carla Bley; Oscar Hernández; and Horace Silver. My book would be a part of Series 2, and would include the likes of: Randy Brecker and Duke Pearson. That was enough of an incentive to convince me that this would be a wonderful thing to be a part of. And so, I was on board. With some luck, the new series will launch before the end of 2021. Eventually, you will see that Chuck was kind enough to allow me a little flexibility in creating a cover look that would not break too far away from the series, but would be something that I could embrace on a personal level because the look of all of my albums and books has always been of huge importance to me. I hope that everyone will enjoy this songbook, even though it is obviously only intended for musicians.
On a final note, though I had always intended to get my Moderna "booster" shot, the fact that a beloved family member had come down with COVID and he had been fully vaccinated, I was convinced to move much more quickly and on Monday, October 11th, early in the morning, I went to my appointment @ Duane Reade and got my booster vaccination. As the pharmacist predicted, the reaction was very similar to shot #2, and about 12 hours after receiving the shot, in the middle of the night, I was feeling pretty damn miserable. Luckily, that only lasted another 10-12 hours. What a relief that things have normalized, whatever that might be. So, I urge everyone to get that extra protection and keep fighting against this scourge - a little discomfort is far, far better than landing oneself in a hospital and not being able to breath.
Here's a story, one that even has a happy ending, and it goes back to late last year, around October 20th, 2020. It began with my receiving a phone call from my ever-present musical colleague, and one of my closest friends, Rob Mounsey, who asked me if I knew of any concertina teachers. He was asking because our good friend, producer Jane Raab, needed to find a teacher for the great Steve Martin, because in a forthcoming series, his character plays the concertina - not Steve's usual banjo! Jane's husband, the great engineer Richard Alderson, briefly became my go-between to Jane. I would finally speak with Jane directly on November 9th, 2020. At this point in time, I did not even know the name of this series.
of our great and beloved contrabassist and friend, Anthony Jackson. In order to celebrate and commemorate this moment, A.J. was told that he was going to be participating in a Berklee College of Music webinar via Zoom. That part of this elaborate ruse was formulated by Steve Bailey. Other key players in making the real event happen were Danette Albetta and Victor Wooten. The idea was that there would a monstrous surprise for Anthony when many of his closest friends and colleagues showed-up on Zoom to wish him a very "HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Well, of course, I did not know or know of any concertina teachers - and most embarrassing of all, as it turned out, I really didn't know exactly WHAT a concertina was. I guess I thought that it was somehow connected to the accordion family, but even that was not accurate. I thought that it would suffice if I just found an accordion or bandoneón (because of the buttons) player, and that this would be fine. But NO [John Belushi voice]!!! It would not have been fine. In my ignorance, I didn't even know that there were two types of concertinas, the Anglo and the English. I quickly learned that most of the great players play the Anglo, because it offers so many more musical options. And so, my search began.....
However, my memories turned to childhood and how many times I had seen Kirk Douglas playing Ned Land in Jules Verne's "20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA" - and I remembered the scene where he sings "A Whale of a Tale"(Al Hoffman-Norman Gimbel). How about that?!?!?
It was during the evening of October 24th, 2020 when I first reached out to guitarist/composer, Brian Keane, whom I have known for years, and not that long ago, I had been completely knocked out with his theme music and scoring for Barry Levenson's AMC series "COPPER"! I thought that it was totally great, and I wrote Brian to tell him so. Having heard all of that music, I figured that Brian had to know of someone. And he did! He told me that most of the best players in our area had gone back to Ireland because of Trump, the pandemic, and the better condition of the Irish economy. His highest recommendation was for Caitlín (pronounced Kotchleen) with whom he had toured in the past, and he gave me her website, which was so impressive. Aside from being a fantastic virtuoso on the concertina, she was also totally prepared to teach online lessons, etc. It seemed that I might have located the perfect person to become Steve Martin's teacher. And so, I wrote to her through her website - and, no response. I gave it some time, and I tried again, and again, NO RESPONSE! So, I gave-up!!!
Then, it came to me that my Protools teacher, recording engineer/guitarist Bryan Smith had played in some Irish folkloric groups recently and that he might know of someone. I reached out to Bryan on October 25th, 2020, and it turned out that he did!!! He contacted violinist Tony DeMarco, and it was Tony who recommended the very young Catriona Fee (pronounced Catrina), and I saw a wonderfully charming video of Catriona playing Irish music with her sisters. You can hear how great she plays! During the afternoon hours of October 25th, I was able to reach out to Catriona, and by then I knew that Steve Martin had gone out and purchased a concertina - but we didn't know which kind he had purchased. Yikes! As it turned out, Steve was coming into New York for a wardrobe fitting - and Jane Raab was able to confer with Steve's personal assistant - things began to take more shape. That was on November 9th, 2020. By November 11th, I knew that they were in touch with Catriona, and that Steve liked her very much - so, we were all set. At that point, feeling that I had done my job, and a great job at that, I just went on about my own business.
As time passed, I learned that the series was going to be with Martin Short, and it would be called "ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING"(Hulu) and that shooting was to begin soon. Beyond that, periodically I would call or e-mail Jane to see how things were going, and she felt that they were going great. So, I was really happy for Catriona, and felt that this could be great for her growing career in some way.
Just this past week, on August 31st, 2021, the series debuted on Hulu network. I saw a really nice post by Catriona, where she announced her own role in helping Steve Martin - and, though I can't be certain, it's even possible that Catriona actually played/recorded some passages for Steve to play/sync to while filming. I'm not sure about that. But, she was happy and thrilled by the experience - really a once-in-a-lifetime thing. So, it's all great. She said that Steve and his concertina make their debut in Episode 3!!!
Once in a great while in this life, one is able to do something nice for someone else, and it all works out. But, as you can see by this story - to achieve this end result, a lot of nice people were involved. Rob, Jane, Richard, Brian, and later, Bryan, Tony and finally Catriona. As I said, the story has a really happy ending. As I write this, I have not seen one second of the series, but I plan on binging it soon!!!
As we all try to navigate our way through the omnipresent news of a world seemingly filled with war, disease, injustice and nauseating politics, it becomes more essential than ever to try and find a moment of beauty to sustain and inspire us to do better through any given day. Where does one find that? The answer seems to be pretty easy, just look to THE ARTS first, and in one of them you will find an answer. way, it might connect with people and thereby lighten their load on any given day. For those who took the time to listen and go on the journey embodied within this wonderful Carla Bley piece of music, we thank you so much.
Such was the case for me the other day when I happened to stumble upon a performance by tenor saxophonist Bob Malach, who for decades I had always known him as Bobby Malach, with the superb WDR Big Band from Köln, Germany playing a very special Bob Mintzer arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants." It was Malach's 'moment' as part of the "FOUR TENORS" concert, alongside Mintzer, Paul Heller and Ada Rovatti. Bobby had requested this tune because of his great love for it, but also because he had spent years on the road with the magnificent Stevie Wonder.
I found everything about this performance to be so very moving, because it exemplifies what is so great about the reading of a ballad when it is played with such emotional depth, feeling and a sense of space, time, and patience. It was so wonderful to hear Bobby playing like this, set within the lush harmonic support provided by Mintzer and WDR - especially the sonorous woodwind colors. For me, this became a work, a performance of transcendent grace and beauty. Something to be treasured.
Throughout my life, since childhood, my father always used to say to me: "Steve, if someone does something that you like, always reach out and tell them!" Dad spent his life at the typewriter and the phone writing and calling people whose work, in any field of endeavor, he had admired or been moved by. And, I have tried my best to do the same. And so, in that spirit, I reached out Bobby Malach, and just two days ago, we finally connected by phone and spent a wonderful hour together reminiscing about life - and he even reminded me of things that we had done together years ago, moments that I had completely forgotten about. So, it was wonderful on all levels. And I was thrilled that my call lifted his spirits.
So, on that note, I would invite everyone to take a few moments and just listen to the sheer magic of Bob Malach playing Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants" - yes, you can enjoy the video too. In order to do that, you must click on the first photo above, and that becomes the link to take you to the performance. I feel certain that you will be moved as well. If not, I will know that I have become more of an overly sentimental old fool, more than I already know! Lastly, if it even needs to be said, how GREAT is Stevie Wonder? How could any one person be given so much talent?
Addendum: I forgot to include a little anecdote about my son, Heath, who back in the '70s, during the earliest years of his life, we must have been playing a lot of Stevie Wonder at home - albums like: "INNERVISIONS"('73), "FULFILLINGNESS' FIRST FINALE"('74) and "SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE"('76) would have been around then. Heath couldn't exactly say Stevie Wonder's name, so he would call him, "Tee-tee Wah-wah"!!! I have never forgotten that!
As always, sending Peace & Love to everyone - Steve [New York, August 25th, 2021]
It wasn't all that long ago, actually back on May 21st, 2021, that I first received a very nice e-mail from the Triple H Horns of London, UK. I'm still not even certain which of the 3 horn players that I have been communicating with, now for some 3 months. They had written to explain to me that they had decided to record, with their own group: OUTPUT / INPUT, an interpretation of Randy Brecker's brilliant composition, "The Little Ones" which appeared on my 1978 album, "THE BLUE MAN"(Columbia). Now, the actual launch for the music and video are upon us, and I'm really happy to be able to present the link here at this very site. For the record, the Triple H Horns are: Nick Mead(Trumpet); Jacob Shaw(Reeds) & Patrick Hayes(Trombone). As a whole, the group, while recording remotely, consists of wonderful international players from the London(UK), Los Angeles(USA) and Seoul(South Korea).
Hearing "The Little Ones" get dusted-off and performed again really caused me to reflect and, yet again, appreciate the incredible performances by the original group that included: Randy, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Don Grolnick, Jeff Mironov, Will Lee, Steve Gadd and Ralph MacDonald. I still marvel at the playing of all of those mentioned. But, the phrasing of this great, great mini-horn section remains a marvel after some 43+ years. The inner dynamics, the sense of moving together as one is just about impossible to capture. However, Nick, Jacob and Patrick played the arrangement, in their own way, but with tremendous respect for the original - obviously, their detailed work did not go unnoticed by me - and I have expressed this directly to them all. But I have to single out the solos from: Kanghyun Bu(Guitar), Daeun Kim(Keys), Jacob(Alto Sax) and Patrick(Trombone), and the big-ass rhythm groove anchored by: Melvin Lee Davis(El. Bass) and Jay Williams(Drums). And, their arrangement actually has a real ending - the original version has a long fade which featured the brilliance of David Sanborn.
So, it is my hope that those who visit this page will simply click on the link, in this case, the OUTPUT / INPUT image above, and will thoroughly enjoy hearing this group's interpretation of Randy's tune. It is an amazingly detailed piece of music from the most unique musical mind of one of our greatest composers.
Hoping that everyone, across this big ole world, has found a way to survive what has been a most brutal month of August where heat is concerned. Riding the subways on any given day when the temperature is 95°F and 90% humidity - is truly disgusting! Yuck!!! But, we do it as we must. Mercifully, Fall will be upon us soon!!!
- On or around June 7th, I received a phone call from an old friend, Amelia Deschamps, whom I first met some 20 years ago when she was covering the Puerto Plata Jazz Festival in República Dominicana. I was there as part of the Caribbean Jazz Project. Amelia and I have remained friends since then, even if the correspondence has been most infrequent. I have watched her career blossom in many ways, seeing her become one of the most respected and recognizable faces in the news business there. I'm very proud what she has accomplished, and it is an ever-growing list of challenges met.
As it turned out, Amelia was wondering if I would help her out by becoming the subject for her maiden voyage into the world of podcasts. The element that intrigued me most was that, she wanted the podcast interview to be loosely based around a singular question: "What does Jazz sound like? What does it sound like to you?" When I heard that, during our phone conversation, I found that to be very interesting, especially philosophically. And so we agreed to record the podcast, our conversation, on June 9th with me also having to serve as engineer. Yikes!
To prepare, I hastily tried to assemble a collection of no more than 10 tunes, limiting the time period to be between 1957-1968. Only 10 tunes? How on earth do you do that? Well, while trying to do that, I ended-up with some 45 tunes in a folder, ready to go. It was impossible to eliminate so much. But, in my personal story of falling in love with Jazz, my thoughts and energies kept drifting back to personal memories of hearing on late night Los Angeles Jazz radio @ KBCA and hearing "The Duke" composed by Dave Brubeck, with the recording of significance for me being the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration that appeared on the classic album "MILES AHEAD"(Columbia). To reconnect, I listened to it several times, and allowed my imagination to begin to float within those magical notes played in 1957, and I asked myself, "I wonder what it would have felt like if I had been in the middle of that orchestra with my acoustic guitar? And so, I embarked down that most risky of artistic, musical, and technological challenges, and I wrote out a part for myself - adjusting it along the way, and recorded my Martin MC-28 guitar to the existing track. When that was completed to my relative satisfaction, I then tried to blend it in with what was there. It was strictly a linear part, no chord changes, no fills to be played - just try to be a part of the ensemble, nothing more.
Now, you can read the full story, only here, by clicking on the link supplied above and here the full soundclip as well. I hope that everyone enjoys it. The podcast is now available to you. So, have a listen when the spirit moves you.
- On Friday, June 25th, 2021, journalist Jeff Wilson sent a link to his piece from "the abso!ute sound" magazine. The article was titled: "When Fusion Guitarists Went Acoustic" and he featured three albums:  John McLaughlin's "MY GOAL'S BEYOND"(Douglas)(1971);  Larry Coryell's "EUROPEAN IMPRESSIONS"(Arista/Novus)(1978); and  "EVIDENCE"(Arista/Novus) my own 1980 album. I was surprised and thrilled with this news. To be mentioned in the same article with both John and Larry is a great honor - and often never happens.
Over the course of my career, the acoustic guitar has played an important role, and has periodically provided a certain cleansing from all of the electric guitar work and recordings. "LOCAL COLOR"(Denon)(1987) a duo album with Rob Mounsey was a uniquely conceived recording where I only played acoustic guitars. Then, some 10 years later, Rob and I recorded "YOU ARE HERE"(SIAM)(1998). In recent years, the acoustic guitar found a prominent place on "BORROWED TIME"(Tone Center)(2007)" appearing on 3 tunes: "Face Value"; "Have You Met Miss Jones?" and "Moon and Sand"(Luna y Arena). This was followed by "BACKLOG"(Tone Center)(2016) on Bobby Hutcherson's "Rojo" and more recently on "PATCHWORK"(Tone Center)(2019) on both Bobby Hutcherson's "Bouquet" and Keith Jarrett's "The Journey Home" and Jorge Estrada's "Huracán Clare."
During the pandemic crisis, with so much recording done at home, the three projects listed below were all performed on my Martin MC-28 steel-string acoustic. This kind of work only continues. Thanks so much to Jeff Wilson for alerting me to his piece, again, it was simply wonderful to be included with these great artists.
- This past June 1st, 2021, we marked the 25th anniversary of the loss of pianist/composer Don Grolnick. He was just 48 yrs old. At that moment in 1996, I had just turned 49. As it was then, I am still left to wonder, why Don? He was so young. It all reminds me that, back in the '50s and early '60s, as some of us were growing up, we were not expected to live to be 55. When social security was created, those same 'wise' people were expecting most of us to have been gone, and quite some time ago. And yet, many of us remain. People all over feel the loss of their loved ones and dear friends, there is nothing unusual about that - but, for those of us who loved Don, cared about and cared for him - his loss still represents a great, great sadness. Even though well before his passing, Don's spirit and influence had been a part of everything that I had done, and since then, even moreso. We could not have known that his landmark Latin Jazz album, "MEDIANOCHE"(1995) would turn out to be his last recording as a leader. It featured: Michael Brecker (Tenor Sax), Mike Mainieri (Vibes) and Latin music masters: Andy González (Baby Bass); Milton Cardona (Conga); Steve Berrios (Perc.); Don Alias (Timbal) and Dave Valentín (Flute).
The happenstance that brought me to record Don's incredible Cha-cha-cha "Rainsville" as a small homage to him felt so very right for me - and thinking about these dates, makes it of greater significance. This was to be a musical act of love directed at the memory of both Don Grolnick and Michael Brecker. I was also struck by another fact, and it pained me to note that, at this moment, the only surviving participants from the "MEDIANOCHE" album are Mike Mainieri (Vibes) and James Farber (Engineer)! it's too sad just to even ponder this. My own tangential relationship to this great album is one that I have written about at my website before - but a large part of the inspiration to record a Latin Jazz album came from Cal Tjader's classic, "SOUL BURST"(Verve)(1966) album. And who do think gave Don one of his extra LP copies of that very album years ago? Yes! You've got it! ME! Don acknowledged the influence of that album by arranging Chick Corea's tune, "Oran."
What I am writing here is merely an introduction to the full story of just how this came to be. If this has piqued your interest, then you must click on the link, visit the page, and read what I wrote there. Here is that link: "Rainsville"
- Suddenly, it's June 1st, 2021! When I write something here at the NEWS page, I often have no idea if someone, if anyone is actually reading this stuff, let alone following the link, and reading a more expansive entry and/or listening to the music via soundclips. When I do hear from people who have enjoyed something that I posted here, it is very rewarding. In the days of actual fan mail, it was said that 1 piece of fan mail actually represented 100+ people. It's just that the other 99 are not people who write to express themselves. So, if one can take heart in such theories, then I suppose it's useful?
One lost Sunday evening during May, perhaps it was the 9th, I was in the midst of a musical conversation via Facebook messages with a friend from Argentina about a piece of music that she was going to be recording one day soon. Because I knew that piece of music, this interchange inspired me to reinvestigate that song. The result of all of this was that I sought to see if I could, well after the fact, insinuate myself and my Martin MC-28 steel-string acoustic into an already existing piece of music and somehow make it sound as if I had been there from the very beginning. It was to be a test of my musicality as a guitarist, but then, perhaps the biggest test of all was, could a musical amateur at Pro Tools find enough skill and cunning to make this happen in reality as audio?
The story of this adventure, complete with an edited audio soundclip, can be found at this page regarding Claus Ogerman's composition "Nightwings" which appears on the album "CITYSCAPE" and featured the great Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone. My imaginary contribution to this effort was all done between May 12th-14th. If you somehow find the time to read the piece, but above all listen to the creation, I sincerely hope that you enjoy it and find it moving in some way. Thank you for reading this far.
It has now been a little over 2 months since Chick Corea passed away on February 9th, 2021. Like everyone else, I was stunned as I had no idea that he had been ill. He seemed to be in the prime of his life - certainly creatively speaking. Suddenly, there were tributes popping up everywhere: musical, spoken and written. What could I possibly add to that as I had never played with him, and other than meeting him any number of times backstage here and there, and of course the occasional cosmic encounter at an airport - we never spoke at any great length. Still, I collected myself and wrote my tribute to Chick at the TRIBUTES page at my website - and felt content with that.
In the process of writing that homage, I reconnected with an older composition of Chick Corea's that, as far as I know, "Bleeding Orchid" only appeared on Joe Farrell's 1971 CTI album "OUTBACK" which had also featured: Buster Williams(Ac. Bass); Elvin Jones(Drums); and Airto Moreira(Percussion). My love for this tune was rekindled and suddenly, quite out of nowhere, or so it seemed, an idea for an arrangement was born - and I was driven to execute it, and complete it. As the tune was a Spanish-flavored ballad in 3/4, I knew that I wanted to do it as a Bolero in 3/4 - one that would travel in and out of a slow Afro-Cuban 6/8. More than anything I knew that the voice of the piece would be my Martin MC-28 steel-string acoustic.
As I labored on the arrangement, I began to envision a cast of musicians that would include familiar names and musical presences to my recent albums, but also a couple of newer faces. I'm speaking of stalwarts: Rubén Rodríguez(Baby Bass); Bobby Allende(Conga & Bongó) and my ever-reliable friend and constant colleague Rob Mounsey to supply some beautiful orchestral touches. The co-equal role on Fender Rhodes would be the super-talented Otmaro Ruiz - someone whom I have known and greatly admired for some 22 years now. This actually became our 1st opportunity to do something musical together. You have only to listen to the end result to know how special this collaboration became. Finally, having worked with him on a recent project, I felt confident and comfortable that Jimmy Branly(Timbal) would be a great choice - and surely he was - he brought so much to the table. And, in the end, it was Jimmy who mastered the mix of this performance, and way beyond that, he also edited together our video presentation to accompany the music. What fantastic work Jimmy did! The mix was done by another old and dear friend, the very musical and artistic Malcolm Pollack.
And so, here we are, it is April 16th, 2021 and we are all ready to present and share this musical creation in memory of Chick Corea and what his musical legacy might have brought to each one of us on a personal level. It is, in the end, and expression of great love and respect for the career of this musical giant. Rest in peace, Chick! All you have to do is to click on the animated image above, and it will take you to a page where you can listen to the music, and see the accompanying video.
NOTE:(5/3/21): Just posted to KHAN'S KORNER 1, Steve Khan's Martin MC-28 steel-string acoustic guitar solo on "Bleeding Orchid." To read Steve's analysis and see the solo over 4 16-bar cycles of the solo changes, just click HERE and you will be there. Enjoy it with our best wishes.
- Just this morning, on Wednesday, March 10th, about one month after I had posted my tribute to Chick Corea housed at the TRIBUTES page, my old and dear friend and colleague Kenny Inaoka actually translated the entire text, with images, for his tremendous JazzTokyo web-magazine, which was launched in 2004. I hope that many of our Japanese readers will enjoy what I wrote in their own language, and, if you haven't been able to read it, the link will now take you there. Thanks so much Kenny, you did an amazing job!
- Somehow, another April 28th, has arrived, and Steve marks a pretty significant milestone, and more than those already in the rearview mirror, the number associated with this singular April birthday faces him like a huge neon sign. And that sign reads: #75 has arrived!!! To honor this moment, Steve has written an addendum to his original essay, or more to the point, a collection of thoughts titled: "On Turning '75'"!
During the prior discourse for #70, he sentimentally touched upon diverse topics such as: his years between 60 and 70; Barack Obama; life expectancy for baby boomers; his father and Frank Sinatra; his recordings released during the past 10 years; almost getting mugged on Broadway; one's looks; health issues; love and loss; and finally, what does his green field look like 10 years later.
But now, with the passage of 5 years, even though things might not look all that different, newer, fresh perspectives arrive via various experiences. The arrival of a new one song project with vocalist Mark Kibble. Thoughts after seeing Kenneth Branagh's "BELFAST" and, last but not least, thoughts generated long ago by a single line from Billy Wilder's 1959 film, "SOME LIKE IT HOT." Hopefully, it all coalesces into something coherent and, in its way, moving.
No matter what the number is for any particular birthday, there is probably always good cause for moments of great reflection. And one returns only to ask the repeated philosophical question: "Am I anywhere near where I expected to be by this time in my life?" How one answers that question tells us a great deal.
It's CHRISTMAS EVE 2020, and I am writing to share a recent experience with those who visit these pages. At this latter stage of my life, I can't say that I have a "bucket list" now - nor, in truth, have I ever had one. In my quiet moments, though I have many, many regrets, both personal and musical, I do not ruminate on the things that I never did, the places I might never have gotten to, and the various great artists, musicians and singers, that I might never have had the good fortune to have played with, toured with, or recorded with. Maybe 20-30 years ago, I might have wished that I could have done something with certain artists, but, looking back over the scope of a long career - how could I possibly say that I had been cheated in some way? No! Not all all!!! I have been extremely fortunate. In the past 20 years or so, I have lived from recording to recording, and seeing a project of mine begin from the small germ of an idea and expand to its fullest realization - as best as I could do that - that has been more than enough for me. But, something happened for me recently that just added a dimension to this aspect of the story that, in a sense, changed everything - and so much for the better.
I hope that some of you will take advantage of the link supplied here, and will read my full essay/story of how I came to have the distinct honor and pleasure of collaborating with one of the most unique and special talents in music, I am speaking of WORKING WITH MARK KIBBLE! Many of you will know his name because he was a founding member and principal arranger for the brilliant vocal group, Take 6. You will read about how this all happened, because in late May of this year, I became involved in arranger/trumpeter Reuben Fowler's Big Band Project, which features his wonderful arrangements of Steely Dan material. Let it be noted that Reuben lives in London, England. At the top of the page, you will find a small BLUE BUTTON, and if you click on that button, you will be able to hear how Mark Kibble's vocal artistry transformed an already great arrangement of the iconic title tune from Steely Dan's, "AJA" album into something that becomes otherworldly. Please know that Mark performed and arranged ALL of the voices that you hear, HIMSELF. You will be listening to a rough mix that I worked on for a period of days after having received Mark's vocals. It is of an acceptable quality, but hardly a finished product.
In brief, just know that being allowed to do this with Mark has been one of the great thrills of my musical life - and my spirit is bursting with pride about this effort. I don't believe that Reuben's full project will become available until, at the earliest, midway through 2021. So, be patient! But in the interim, you can have this little taste of the possible.
In order to clean-up this NEWS page, I created a special page, THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, where now everything that was once found here has been relocated. I want to thank everyone of a like mind who wrote to me and made supportive comments about the state of the process as it moved along - with, more or less, the hoped for result. As of today, Thursday, January 21st, these entries will no longer appear here. And, as I always must conclude, PLEASE STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY above all else! And thank goodness that evil bastard Donald Trump is gone from the White House!!! But, it will take a long, long time to recover from what he did to this country!
- New Reviews!
From the December 3rd, 2020 issue of "Chalked Up Reviews," we are presented with a spectacular review by Nolan Conghaile. So nice to receive an overall grade of "A" and a review that was filled with so many super kind words for everyone involved and all of the details, large and small.
Patchwork is a prime example of Khan's fluidity as a player, composer, arranger, soundsmith, and bandleader. His understanding of the many styles presented on the album results in a listening experience that is varied, musical, and rhythmically adventurous. The players all have excellent chemistry, and the guest artists add to the rich sonic tapestry. Khan never loses his blues overtones; as all great jazz players know, the blues language is an essential element of the jazz language.
From the October 16th, 2020 issue of "Jazz Sensibilities," we now have a tremendous review by Stamish Malcuss. Most grateful for all of the high praise included within.
"Each phrase of his "Naan Issue" solo lines between the chordal figures is an adventure in articulation. From legato bebop lines to bending blues figures, Khan effortlessly spins out the textures with flawlessly clean technique. His time feel is so relaxed and in the pocket that when he does push and pull the beat, it has such depth and purpose it makes the line have even more power. Khan is a tremendous improviser, and "Naan Issue" has five minutes of pure improvisational delight by Khan.
Patchwork is a fantastic ensemble taking us through a series of beautifully arranged jazz tunes and one Khan original, all within the Latin jazz genre. The guest players add sonic variance and Khan's guitar sound pallet also adds to the many textures. Khan's improvising is astounding on every selection and a great study in modern Latin jazz guitar playing at a technical level. The ensemble is listening and interactive with each other, and each song has an exciting form. It simply does not get any better than that!"
From the September 9th, 2020 issue of "The Jazz Word" a fine online magazine, we have Nolan DeBuke's wonderful review. Some great superlatives for the recording can be found here as well.
"There is a saying among players "a musicians' musician." In essence, this is the player most respected by his or her peers. One such player comes to mind immediately guitarist Steve Khan. His breadth of command on his instrument is no less than a marvel to behold. ...... Overall, Patchwork is a masterful effort that proves Khan is a force to be reckoned with, a must-have for any collection."
From the August 17th, 2020 issue of "Staccatofy" online magazine, we have Adorjan Horvát's 9.3 rated review. Amongst his stated superlatives for the recording are:
"Steve's commanding aesthetic is evident in each tune. His authenticity of the Latin vernacular execution is as fluid and as embracing as his imaginative performances. Each displays the potent acumen of a true player." He concludes by writing: "Khan's expressive guitar playing is a masterful combination of chords and single notes, a pianistic approach on the guitar few can master with such elegance. His syncing with the rhythm section is also of note here. Khan has a deep understanding of the history of jazz, Latin jazz, and how to translate that language in a meaningful and eloquent way through the guitar. Patchwork is a beautiful project from start to finish, and that's the short of it!"
To see the full review here at the site, visit our assembled a page for all of the significant "PATCHWORK" REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS.
NEW ESSAY(9/9/20): With our own great Jazz station WBGO-FM continuing to play music from "PATCHWORK," especially both
"Huracán Clare" and bonus track "Nature Boy," I decided to write a piece that I have titled, "ADVENTURES IN VOCALESE" to tell the story of exactly how, when and why I began to explore singing wordless vocals on my own albums. But now, in the midst of our global COVID-19 pandemic, and here in the USA, our national terror about what could happen in the coming election on November 3rd, out of a need to exercise some creativity, by some miracle, I have expanded the possibilities, and two new such vocalese experiments now exist in the real world.
With the reissue of bassist Jimmy Haslip's 2000 album, "RED HEAT"(Blue Canoe), now receiving retroactive airplay from WBGO, I revisited a couple of my favorite tunes on that album, and as yet another experiment, I recorded my voice in specific sections, as I heard and felt them. At this new page, I tell that story of how this happened, and what has developed since I sent those experiments to Jimmy just to see what he thought. I hope that some of you will take a moment to read what I have written, and will then click on those blue buttons to listen to the provided soundclips for both Vince Mendoza's very romantic and beautiful "She Never Has a Window" and "Novelas"(Khan-Ferrante-Haslip). I hope that you enjoy what you hear. So much is possible if one just goes with their heart and takes chances.
There is another part of this story that goes much further back in time, and if you choose to click on this link, you will be taken to an Addendum: that I wrote this past September 5th. This date was an important one within my family while growing-up. But, the story is connected to my father's first trip to Brazil and his bringing home LPs that gave me my first taste of vocalese which, needless to say, was never forgotten. However, my search for a possible year of when Dad's trip was taken netted something far more interesting and pleasantly surprising for me. I hope that everyone will enjoy this additional part of the story!
- JUST PUBLISHED!(8/14/20): If one is fortunate, usually interviews take place before and/or during the run of an album. Once that run has been completed, there are not going to be any interviews forthcoming. However, in this case, it just so happened that recently I was contacted by journalist Jim Worsley from the eminent AllAboutJazz.com website about doing a lengthy INTERVIEW for this important publication. At first, I wasn't really sure just what purpose it might serve, but how could I refuse such an invitation? And so, after many e-mail exchanges and a few introductory phone conversations, Jim and I scheduled our phone interview for Tuesday, July 28th. After our wide-ranging conversation, Jim set about the tedious task of transcribing what had been said. Normally, I insist on seeing and proofing the interview before it goes to press or up on the web, but this time, for some reason, I decided to let go of that demand. I just gave Jim the verbal O.K. to edit out all forms of colloquial expressions that function well in conversation, but do not read well as prose. He promised to try his best to do that. It was my intention all along that I would take that same interview from the pages of AllAboutJazz, which was officially posted on Friday, August 14th, and present it, in my own style, via a NEW PAGE at my own website, and that is what I have done.
It was as if I was now transcribing Jim's transcription of our conversation and, as I went along, I made my own adjustments as to just how I wanted the interview to read. Doing things this way is also a great opportunity to complete or extend some thoughts or stories that I was expressing/telling with more details. This becomes hard work, long hours - I spent some 12 hours sitting at the computer trying to put the interview into the best form that I could. To enhance the storytelling aspects of the interview, as I always try to do, I wanted to present some photos that would be connected to the conversation, and so, some of the photos that you will see while reading I have never shared before - not at my website and not at Facebook. For example, the photo of my father and me, as my dear sister Laurie just informed me, was taken around June 18th, 1988 on the occasion of dad's 75th birthday. Looking at the photo now, I am struck by just how frail he looked then. It also occurs to me now that I am less than 2 years away from notching-up that number myself. How the hell is THAT possible? Oh well....
I fully realize that most people never bother to read 1/2 of what I write here at my website, but undaunted, I continue to write in hopes that someone out there is actually reading this stuff. To that person, or those people, thank you so much! In closing, I would want to thank Jim Worsley and AllAboutJazz for doing this interview and publishing it. It remains a great honor.
- BRAND NEW!(7/20/20): Perhaps we could get started with this? Here in North America, most reasonably worldly and semi-sophisticated people, not just musicians or artists, associate the "tango" with Argentina. Over the years, there have been many Jazz tunes that have used the word "Tango" in the title - but, of course, to most experts in the genre - these pieces of music have little or NOTHING to do with the Tango as they know it, and as they live it - the dance, the music, the people, the faces and the culture. And so, at best, we can say that most compositions would only be a loving "impression" of a Tango and nothing more. It could even be great as an impression - but who is to be the judge of that?
I would contend that Carla Bley has given us a very loving gift with this older composition of hers - and from the title, "Reactionary Tango" - it is obvious that her liberal politics are still showing - and for me, that's a good thing!!! It is perfect for this moment in human history. So, I just wanted to be clear about this before we go further.
In the far too many moments of incredible boredom, and not much creative inspiration being generated from within my soul and spirit - sometimes, a piece of music comes back to me, and I become energized to reinvestigate it. Such was the case with Carla Bley's beautiful "Reactionary Tango," which I first heard when recorded by Gary Burton on his 1981 album, "EASY AS PIE"(ECM). [Carla's own interpretation appeared first on her album, "SOCIAL STUDIES" - also from 1981] The album featured Jim Odgren on alto sax; Steve Swallow on el. bass and Mike Hyman on drums. I have always been struck by how very expressive this melody is, and how beautifully it was played by Jim Odgren, without ever being emotionally over-the-top. Some years ago, I decided to transcribe the piece and make a lead sheet - just for myself - I never ever had the intention of arranging it or recording it as an artist.
Then suddenly, there was a post from a wonderful Argentine musician asking, in a global manner, for music on which to collaborate - and I thought that, for that person, this great song could be the perfect vehicle. In order to present the piece, I brought the Gary Burton version, which is nearly 12-minutes long, into Protools to see if I could edit out the 3 solos and then, it would become just one long melody statement. By some miracle, I was able to do it and suddenly the piece was about 4:20. I wrote that person a message and included my hand-written lead sheets and the edited mp3, but as it often goes, I received no response. As a day or two passed, I decided to just make an arrangement as an experiment to see if I could take the Tango-esque elements in Carla's composition, and give it the flavor of Latin rhythms in the form of an Afro-Bolero. And so now, I think that we could say that, I have created a Tangolero. I would also add that I have seen Carla's lead sheets, and the full piece, really a suite, is in 3 long sections with each one occupying a full pdf file. So Gary Burton did a fantastic job sorting out the sections with the most content as he heard them.
As my arrangement continued to grow, there was a moment when I actually felt that, if I added in my acoustic guitar, it might fill out the harmony in places and add a very subtle sense of propulsion. Initially, I had no plans to appear on this piece - but, of course, I've said that before, most notably with "Nature Boy," the bonus track from "PATCHWORK." Still, the question remained, WHO could be "the voice" of this piece? After seeing several beautiful videos by Aca Seca Trio keyboardist and vocalist, Andrés Beeuwsaert and his partner violinist Sara Ryan, I thought to myself that THEY would be the perfect musical and personal combination for this effort - IF, of course, the song resonated with them both. Lucky for me, it did, and here we all are.
What I love about what Sara and Andrés have done here is that they artfully represent what great beauty there can be in the personal expression of a melody - at times, a most simple melody. They craft and personalize the contours of what Carla Bley had written. They have taken sections where there is just a simple repeated note, and with dynamics and playing, at times, warmly behind the beat they have turned it into something that is very emotional. You feel the undercurrents of the swirling harmonies underneath, because of their statement of the melody. For me, that is what this was all about. The feelings come back for me when I hear Sara and Andrés playing this way. This is where the fundamental emotions of Tango come into play. When Jazz began to be taught in music schools here in the USA, there were books and professors who listed amongst the key elements of the genre as: Improvisation and Interpretation, and during "Reactionary Tango" you hear the personalization of interpreting this melody in the moment. That was what I was hoping for, and Sara and Andrés brought it, big time!!! I must add that I love Andrés' improvised opening and closing comments on the melodica - these phrases were elegantly stated. Don't overlook them!
As I am sharing the wonderful finished HD video, in both B&W and color, that Andrés and Sara filmed, you can access them by clicking on the photo above. Then, I decided to give anyone interested a chance to hear and play only the audio by pushing the blue button provided here. I hope that you will want to hear it this way too.
At least now, the option is yours.
Of course, for me, the brilliant and ever creative Rob Mounsey became involved and orchestrated the harmonies suggested by my arrangement. It goes without saying that, each time Rob and I do something, anything together, it is such a great thrill and most gratifying for me.
As Andrés and Sara have their feet firmly planted in the world of contemporary video presentations, the final product rested with them. For my part, I am just so proud and happy that we could do something like this together - send the music out there - and hope that, in some cosmic
From Sara, Andrés, Rob and me, we send love and good wishes to everyone along with the hope that you are doing your best to STAY SAFE & HEALTHY!!!
New York, July 20th, 2020
NOTE:(7/20/20): As it was very possible that many of you would experience problems trying to load-in these HD quality videos for viewing on your smartphones, for those who don't really spend much time viewing such things on their computers any longer, with the help of both editors Phil Fallo and Paul Mounsey, we created video-light mp4 versions. We are confident that this will enable our more contemporary viewers to see this work close to as intended.
- Back on June 1st when this all began for me, I knew so little about Sarah Cooper, but now, here we are and we have arrived at Friday, August 21st, 2020, and Sarah was just a featured player at the Democratic Convention to nominate the ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. So, that's quite a lot of progress and respect garnered for the depth and the impact of her work, in part, her impressions of Donald Trump using his own moronic words as super-charged fuel for making him look like the fool that he is!
Now, you can access everything via the newly created Sarah Cooper Page, in addition to all the links to her videos, you can read the progression of events as to just how we got here. Enjoy it all with my best wishing and my never-flagging hope that on November 3rd, this nation will do what must be done to save our democracy and our collective souls!
- It wasn't all that long ago, back on May 18th, 2020, that I was contacted by David Bandrowski to see if I would interested be in doing an interview for his Banjo Studio Podcast, which is conducted by guitarist/composer and arranger Jonathan Freilich. At first, I thought that this was some kind of mistake, that they had contacted me in error. What could I possibly have to do with the banjo? I went to the site, and saw that I was not familiar with many of the great banjo artists who were featured, but I certainly had developed a feeling for Ketch Secor from being mesmerized by the recent Ken Burns documentary "COUNTRY MUSIC" - so much so that I actually bought the DVD of the whole series. I thought that Ketch was really fantastic throughout. I had also seen Chris Eldridge many times on TV as part of The Punch Brothers. But, what made me feel much more comfortable was the fact that Kurt Rosenwinkel had done one, and he is much more in my zone of experience. Not to mention, he is a superb player.
And so, on the afternoon of Friday, June 5th, Jonathan and I got together via Zoom, and had a wonderful time talking about music and life. He was so engaging and well-informed that it made everything flow in the nicest possible manner. I hope that some of you will venture there and listen to and enjoy the INTERVIEW.
There might be those amongst you reading this and wondering to yourself. "Steve, what right do YOU have to be talking about the banjo?" Well, of course, I don't think that, in the context of the interview, Jonathan and I ever actually spoke about that instrument, nor my experiences with it here in New York - not that any of those experiences would qualify me to be in such a discussion. However....
In my career, trying to survive in New York, I was actually called upon to play the banjo a few times. Most of the time, in those years here in New York, the great Eric Weisberg, he of "Dueling Banjos" fame, was called to do all of the serious banjo work that existed. And alongside guitarist, Charlie Brown they formed a 1-2 country music punch here in the city. Early on, I learned a trick about how to survive when called to play the banjo. It was simple, just tune the 4 strings like the top 4 strings of a guitar: D-G-B-E and play it like that. And so I did. This happened a few times when recording, and I also subbed in a Broadway show, where I had to play banjo on a song or two - most of it was just strumming.
But, if I might submit some evidence of my stellar work on banjo, you have no further to look than singer Gary Lemel's version of "Mack the Knife" from his album which was intended to be a tribute to Bobby Darin. The album was arranged by the great pianist Roger Kellaway, whom I saw conducting for Bobby Darin in Las Vegas when I was in college. Of course, I knew of Roger because he had played on Wes Montgomery's "BUMPIN'" album. That was more than enough for me! On the session, which was produced by Bobby Colomby, I was joined by heroes of mine: Bob Cranshaw (ac. bass) and Grady Tate (drums). So with that put out in the open, I humbly submit that there is evidence of my eminent qualifications to now be a part of the Banjo Studio Podcast. And, if it needs to be said, it was a real pleasure to be a part of the series, and I enjoyed speaking with Jonathan immensely. We had a great time.
- UPDATE!(10/8/20): Now looking at "PATCHWORK" on the JazzWeek 52-Week Chart, the album has sustained a position on this 100 album chart for 52 Weeks!!! That's a full year y'all! There is no question that this album has had great staying power for the better part of one year. This alone is remarkable to me. Here at home in New York, our WBGO-FM has been a great champion for the album, as it continues to get periodic airplay which is so great for an album whose 'run' really ended in January, 2020, after a September, 2019 release. Remarkably, WBGO has recently been playing "Nature Boy" the digital bonus track and Jorge Estrada's "Huracán Clare" a lot! I can't complain about any of this.
Back on April 16th, I saw that "PATCHWORK" had finally lost its spot in the TOP 10 on the JazzWeek 26-Week Chart falling to #12. Such things are inevitable, but having stayed at #8 for a number of weeks was really wonderful. No matter what, the staying power of this album was to be pretty remarkable - considering the sad fact that some key stations decided to never play the album at all, and in some key cities, the album was barely played. When you boil it all down, to have spent one-half of a year on the air, in one form or another, feels really great. I'm so very grateful to everyone who has been a part of this.
Way back when December 26th arrived one week after the unique journey of "PATCHWORK" at Jazz radio, and its spot in the JazzWeek Radio Chart's TOP 10 had finally come to an end, I could only thank both Mark Rini and Josh Ellman of GROOV Marketing for their gallant and Herculean efforts on behalf of this album. In all, the album made a sustained run that kept it on this esteemed chart for a total of 19 weeks!!! Perhaps nicest of all was that on the year end 13-Week Chart, "PATCHWORK" came in at #8 for the last quarter of 2019. All things considered, that is a pretty great accomplishment.
To have been in the TOP 10 for a total of 5 WEEKS was so unexpected, and I will remain very pleased about this. The album had gone down to #15, and at that point, based upon my experience, I thought that the album had peaked and would go no higher - never to rise again. One can hope to ascend again, if that is even remotely possible, but that has never happened with any past recording of mine. As it is said, "What goes up, must come down!" Obviously, I had been expecting the latter.
Given the present conditions at Jazz Radio, meaning that there are over 300 albums, new or recently released, in play - at this moment, I have to feel pretty good about this particular result. So, for those of you who have been asking me, "Steve, what happened?" - this is now the best answer that I can provide!!!
Thanks so much to all the stations that did play the album, and to their music directors and DJs for supporting the album - some with such great consistency. To my friends and the fans of this music, I am so grateful for your positive vibes and energy from near and far!!!
NOTE: For anyone who is interested, Steve has written an essay, titled JAZZ RADIO & RADIO PROMOTION which addresses many of the concerns of any artists with regards to taking the best possible care of your album and giving it every chance to be heard. We hope that everyone will take the time to read it and think about it.
- Like everyone else on this planet, and certainly here in New York City, we are all trying our best to follow the governmental guidelines to protect our SAFETY and HEALTH. How are we doing? I would say that, without comprehensive testing, how can we, anyone, truly know if we have been exposed the virus, or had even passed through a milder case of it and actually not known about it? Until we can all have easy access to testing, the uncertainty will surely cause the most intrepid amongst us to be so very careful and cautious.
Needless to say, some days are better than others, and last night, disgusted by the sight of myself, I decided to pull out my hair trimmer and just bite the bullet, and see if I could give myself a haircut, and try to look a little less awful and stupid. I don't know that I succeeded, but the good news is that no one really sees me anyway!
For a musician, one can be saved by moments of creativity that have some kind of a future. Sunday, April 12th was a day like so many others, and after some thought, I found myself inspired to see if I could possibly create a collage of all of the album covers of mine that have been graced by the artwork of the great Jean-Michel Folon. I actually finished one version and later realized that I had actually forgotten one of the covers, and had to adjust the collage to its final total of 17 covers. But NO!!! Just today, Sunday, April 19th, I had this strange feeling that I had forgotten yet another one of the album covers, and true to form, I had forgotten to include "THE SUITCASE"! And yet again, I had to adjust the collage. So now the final total, is actually 18 covers. Scary how important details like this can escape me at this stage of life. I really had not realized that there had been that many covers with a singular artistic point-of-view.
I really hope that anyone who happens upon this page will click on the link above and enjoy scrolling through all of the covers and perhaps, when viewing some of them, a musical memory will come back triggered by an association to a particular cover. For me, I hear things when I see them. So, here's wishing everyone a safe passage along this seemingly never-ending road of doubt and fear - but, on we must go, ever onward. For now, just try to be SAFE and HEALTHY. What else is there to do?
- You just never know what people are going to discover @ YouTube! Just the other day, out of nowhere, someone wondered if that was me playing in the filming of the great Bo Diddley recording a Dr. Pepper® commercial during the late '70s - probably between 1977-79. Of course, I had to investigate this, and there I was sitting next to guitarist John Tropea with Gordon Edwards (el. bass); Jimmie Young (drums) and Joe Shepley (trumpet). All under the baton of pianist/arranger Horace Ott. It should never be forgotten that it was Horace Ott who wrote the famous arrangement for Nina Simone's iconic performance of "I Put a Spell on You"! The background singers are [from left to right] Hilda Harris, Barbara Massey and the great Valerie Simpson.
After some exhaustive research, consulting with Bill Eaton, Debbie McDuffie and Randy Brecker, it seems that we also have Buddy Terry (tenor sax); John Kelly (trombone) and Babe Clark (baritone sax).
Given these days filled with social distancing and slightly loosened sense of quarantine, it becomes a fertile time for goofy research like this. For me, it was wonderful to be back in touch with people that I don't get to see too often. SAFE and HEALTHY remain the key words each day!!!
- This past, Tuesday, June 23rd was the 69th BIRTHDAY
From the world of the bass, well wishers included: Victor Wooten; Will Lee; John Patitucci; Basil Fearington; James Genus; Chuck Rainey; Ron Carter; Darryl Jones; Yiorgos Fakanas; Neil Stubenhaus; Alphonso Johnson; Stanley Clarke and one of Anthony's earliest heroes, Jack Casady. These great drummers were present: Steve Gadd; Steve Jordan; Steve Ferrone; Dave Weckl; Simon Phillips; Cliff Almond & Lenny White. The piano was represented by Michel Camilo. The guitar was represented by Mike Stern, Leni Stern, and yours truly. Anthony's ever-present luthiers Vinny Fodera and Joey Lauricella were there. And one of Anthony's most supportive journalists, Chris Jisi was there as well.
Everyone was very respectful of the space needed so that each person could, in some way, wish Anthony the happiest of birthdays and also, perhaps, share a story, some were funny, some were serious, but all said with love and warmth. I should have taken a screenshot during the proceedings, but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time - it was all very emotional in its way.
The Richard Laird photo shared here is from 2011 and the "PARTING SHOT" recording, the last time that Anthony and I had played together. I would hasten to include that Anthony looked terrific, sounded terrific and was in great spirits surrounded virtually by so much love from friends and colleagues.
- A nice surprise! The ever-wonderful James Taylor has recorded one of my father's songs, "Teach Me Tonight" written with Gene DePaul. I knew nothing about this until a fan from Italy sent me the link via Facebook. In a great irony, the CD will be released on my son Heath's birthday, February 28th!!! Of all the zany things, this is going to be the 1st Single from the album!!! That's really crazy!!! I'm certain that my father would have loved this! In another irony, the usage of the alphabet in the lyrics is interesting to hear at this particular moment in my life.
My father, when speaking about air travel, used to always say this to me: "Steve, birds don't write songs - WHY should I fly?" In one of the great ironies of life, he ended-up flying all the time!!! Go figure!!! Songwriters take note!!!
Thanks so much to everyone for the outpouring of love for my dad's song, interpreted in this most special way by the great, great James Taylor. James just makes every song, new and old, by personalizing it, become better than it ever was. JT is a national treasure.
And, in some promotional material that I just saw, they couldn't even spell my father, Sammy Cahn's last name correctly - as Sammy Chan!!! This has happened many times to me - even in album credits. Even when I say: "O.K., here it is: 'C' as in Charlie, 'A' as in ant, 'H' as in Harry, and 'N' as in Nancy....." They then say, "Right, C-h-a-n!!!" It's hopeless because 'A' and 'H' just sound too much alike to most people!!! These misspellings continue right to this day.
Over the course of my recordings, I've recorded some of my father's songs, but I've always tried to choose the more obscure ones, the ones that few people play, with one exception. Here is the list: "Dedicated to You" from "PUBLIC ACCESS"('89) and "THE SUITCASE"('94); "Autumn in Rome" from "HEADLINE"('92); "It's You or No One" from "CROSSINGS"('94) [The exception, but played as a love song!]; "The Christmas Waltz"(w/ The Brecker Bros.) from "JAZZ TO THE WORLD"('95); "The Last Dance" from "GOT MY MENTAL"('96); "You're My Girl" from "BORROWED TIME"('07); "Our Town" from "BACKLOG"('17). My father and I never enjoyed the best of father-son relationships, but when I have recorded his songs, for that time, it can feel as though there was a powerful connection. That is hard to escape! My love for music, the arts, my fascination with words and writing, his wit and very particular wisdom, and an unending appreciation for songs and their lyrics. All these things I carry with me every single day.
- As 2019 is rapidly coming to a close, a wonderful 'gift' arrived this morning when I was notified by AllAboutJazz.com that their superb senior critic/music writer, John Kelman, had selected "PATCHWORK" as one of his BEST RELEASES OF 2019. to one and all.......
In his presentation, he divided those albums mentioned into several categories including: Jazz; Beyond Jazz; Unreviewed But Still Faves; Jazz Recordings (New & Archival); and Beyond Jazz Recordings (New & Archival). His tastes are very, very eclectic. In order to make the image fit within this space, I had to crop out the recordings by: Bill Bruford; Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan; Marc Copland; and Phillip Johnson. My apologies for that, but, if you click on the link, you can see and read everything!
If it needs to be said, this recording could never have turned out this way without the immense contributions of: Rubén Rodríguez (Baby Bass/El. Bass); Dennis Chambers (Drums); Marc Quiñones (Timbal, Bongó, Percussion); Bobby Allende (Conga); Rob Mounsey (Keys & Orchestrations) and guests: Randy Brecker (Flügelhorn); Bob Mintzer (Tenor Sax); Tatiana Parra (Voice), and Jorge Estrada (Keys) on his own brilliant composition, "Huracán Clare"!!! They all share in this equally.
Needless to say, I would have been happy to have appeared anywhere on such a list - as my albums are often ignored when such lists are published. But, to have been singled out in this way is really a great thrill, and might well be one of the best treats I will receive this Holiday Season 2019!!!
And so, on that note, once again, HAPPY HOLIDAYS
- CDs AVAILABLE @ Amazon.com!!! "PATCHWORK" is the title of Steve's new recording, and there is, of course, a subtitle in Spanish, "Medio Mezclado." The music became available via iTunes first on AUGUST 23RD!!!. It is a bit hard to explain just why the new music is available digitally first, but this time, this is just the way that this process had to unfold. It has been a very strange month while nervously awaiting this singular moment, but let us hope that the seas have now calmed, and there can be relatively smooth sailing from this point forward. Fingers still crossed!
This new recording represents the 4th in a series where Steve continues to enhance the role of the guitar in the context of Latin music and Latin Jazz. You can read a brief part of the story behind this album below.
When "BACKLOG" had completed its run, and I had tried to pursue every possible avenue for helping it to reach the ears of people, there comes a moment when you have to let it go. If there is a 'reward' in any of it, it is simply knowing that, within reason, you did the best that you could, and that the recording represents where you happened to be at a particular moment in your life. As things begin to then settle down, one realizes that they are completely spent, simply exhausted, and this begins a time, at least for me, that is always filled with the sense of being directionless, and having no answer to the eternal question: "What's next?" As I have never been the kind of artist who stockpiles material around the apartment, scattered about on various pieces of music paper, and even ideas or thoughts on notepads, what I put into the last recording represented everything that I had, and everything that I was capable of. I gave everything to it - for better or worse. But, now what? Hours pass into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and yes, months into years - all with no sign of renewed inspiration. Where, oh where is that going to come from? Surely from within, but how? And when? I was resigned to feeling that it was never going to come to me again. That is, needless to say, an awful feeling for any artist to have.
On one July, 2018 afternoon, I was having a conversation with drummer Mark Walker, and I don't even recall how the topic turned to the Thelonious Monk-Kenny Clarke classic, "Epistrophy" but, without my even being aware of it, I had been thinking about that tune from a rhythmic perspective, and I tried to point-out a moment to Mark where I felt that something that Monk was playing was telling me that it was, or could be, Afro-Cuban 6/8. Mark nodded in agreement, and for the moment, the conversation went on to other areas of life. But my thoughts about that tune continued to swirl around in my imagination. It was shortly thereafter that I dragged my old Yamaha DX-7 keyboard out of the closet and out of its case, set it up next to my computer, plugged in the midi to USB cable, and the next thing I knew - an arrangement was being developed!
Where once I had nothing, not an idea, suddenly 6 other tunes that I had always loved came to mind, and work began simultaneously on each one. Days and nights just passed in and out of one another, and about 6 weeks later, I paused to take a deep breath, and realized that I had gone from nothing to having 7 completed, or nearly so, arrangements in the computer! I couldn't believe it. It was, for that moment, such a wonderful feeling - hard to articulate exactly how much it means to me - how much it meant to me - to my spirit. To have accidentally relocated my creative center felt like a miracle - because I was certain that it was never ever going to visit me again. Once I had arrived at that point, there was going to be no stopping me in taking the necessary steps to realizing yet another dream, making a recording happen - no matter what the cost might be emotionally, physically, and no less so, financially! But, this is my life, this is who I am, this is what I do - what else is there? And thus began a series of the usual, for me, consultations with trusted colleagues and close friends: Rafael Greco, Rob Mounsey, Marc Quiñones, Rubén Rodríguez and James Farber. There is always a lot of back-and-forth, and in the process, the arrangements morph and change for the better. For me, it is always an immense learning experience, and an exercise in testing my flexibility.
But, something was missing! How is it possible that I could have done all of this work, and I didn't have one original tune! Nothing!!! How is it possible that I couldn't even compose an acceptable blues?!?!?! What was wrong with me? I was so frustrated, and very angry with myself. And then, once again, seemingly out of nowhere, I was trying to find something, an idea, a blues-related tune to inspire a student of mine, and I decided to pull out the title song from Wes Montgomery's "MOVIN' ALONG"(Riverside) album, which involves a series of 7(9sus) chords in Eb. Once again, I saw the beauty in those harmonies, and felt that I could compose a blues, a melody using that chordal structure. And so, with lots of trial and error, I did it!!! And finally, I had an 'original' tune. At that moment, it filled the need from a rhythmic perspective for a Cha-cha-cha in the context of the album as a whole. Now that there were 8 tunes in total, I felt that this was enough.
As we are so perilously close the end of "THE CD ERA" and no one really knows for certain just what is going to happen next, I felt that trying to do 9-10 tunes for an album was just more than I wanted to take on. Those "extra" one or two tunes can be really costly, causing more time spent recording, and later, mixing. It all adds up. And of course, knowing that NO ONE is ever going to listen to the album as I hear it - as one continuous piece of work, what is the real difference between 8 tunes and 10? People barely have the attention span to listen to one full tune without being interrupted and distracted by their damn smartphones. Well, that plan lasted but a little while - and suddenly, I was driven to include two 'extra' pieces of music that also had come to mean a lot to me. So, you will see that there are now 10 songs that make-up the totality of what I have chosen to now title: "PATCHWORK." Well, I have to amend this now because, almost without thinking, I had recorded over 85-minutes of music, and the limit that one can put on a commercial CD is just below 78-minutes of music. What is the solution for that? Simple, I suppose, one tune becomes a BONUS TRACK for downloads only!!! So, I'm going to have to try that approach.
And so, on March 18th & 19th, we entered Sear Sound here in New York City, and recorded the album. With brilliant production coordination by Jill Dell'Abate, without whom I would have been completely lost, those gathered included: Rob, Marc, Rubén, Bobby Allende, and Dennis Chambers, plus the presence of guest artists including Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Tatiana Parra and Jorge Estrada. Eventually, we will see/hear just what we did!
The image shared here is by the great Michel Granger from his breathtakingly beautiful series of mixed-media paintings titled "Herbarium" from 2016. Once again, the design is by my brilliant colleague Janet Perr, and now, you are seeing what the real CD cover will look like. As all of these friendships continue to the present, the photographs were taken again by Richard Laird. I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by warm and like-minded people, who represent their own work with tremendous artistic passion. I can also now reveal that the liner notes were written by Puerto Rico's own Rafael Vega Curry, who brings his unique perspective and perceptions to the recording.
Over the many years, in interviews, and in private conversations, I've been asked about finding one's own voice on their instrument, or in music, and it took me a long time to formulate what has now become my default response, and that is this: "Don't waste time and energy thinking about or bemoaning what you can't do, concentrate on seeing what it is that you do do well, and rejoice in that!" So, with that kept in mind, and held in one's heart, I can say at this moment that, and I am speaking more about life than about music, "Yes, there are many things that I can't do, or that I don't do well, or that I do not do close to as well as when I was considerably younger - not for the lack of trying - but, I do feel a sense of great warmth in knowing that I can now say that, all my failings aside, I can do THIS!!!" Wherever this inspiration came from this time, I am eternally grateful for this moment in my life. I never thought that this could happen.
For those of you who have stayed with me for all these years, especially since 2011, I am so grateful for your support and words of encouragement. Thank you all so much!!!
- Jazz Radio remains a magical thing... as I wrote some weeks ago, during the overnight hours after seeing that on KSDS-FM Jazz station, DJ Norm Swanberg presented "The Journey Home"(Keith Jarrett)(15:34) from "PATCHWORK" in its entirety! I can't explain to you all how much this means to me!!! It never gets old to know that, somewhere, you have been played on the radio. Even at this stage of life, it makes you feel like a kid again. It must also be noted that the 1st person to play the full performance of "The Journey Home" was actually Alisa Clancy(KCSM-FM), and she played it on her morning program! More recently, Sheila Anderson(WBGO-FM) played it on her late night show. Any time that this happens, it's a great, great thing!!! If you care to, you can read my ESSAY.
- First Review! How can one be more fortunate than to have senior writer, the very esteemed, John Kelman write such an incredibly detailed, thoughtful and sensitive epic Review for AllAboutJazz.com, just published on September 16th. He began his piece by writing:
"Patchwork, the guitarist's fourth installment in a most decided and inimitable exploration of the nexus point where jazz guitar and Latin/Afro Cuban rhythms meet. Now, one of the cornerstones of his ever-imaginative arrangements and much, much more. Khan's focus may, indeed, have leaned further away from original composition, moving more decidedly towards imaginative and innovative Latin-inflected rearrangements (both harmonically and, perhaps most importantly, rhythmically) of music written by artists including, most prominently, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman and Bobby Hutcherson. But the guitarist's interpretive skills are so strong, so vivid and so inimitable, that even an evergreen tune like Monk's "Epistrophy" feels as much Khan's as it does the original (and similarly unparalleled) composer's."
First reaction from Jazz radio! On the day of the radio mailing (8/29), both digital and CDs, Jerry Gordon @ WPRB-FM, Princeton, New Jersey wrote: "Another Masterpiece! Congratulations, Steve. Another great one! Listening now. Some great surprises like 'The Journey Home.' All great. Fusion? You were there first! Best, Jerry"
What a wonderful way to start! And so, the ride begins...
Reaction from France and Jazz magazine! Great writer, Frédèric Goaty opined the following in brief: Steve Khan T. & T. "Fort de son immense culture jazz, le guitariste new-yorkais a toujours le chic pour (re) mettre en valeur des thèmes un peu oubliés, tel celui-ci, d'Ornette Coleman. En y ajoutant bien sûr sa touche latin jazz très contemporaine. Où ça?" "PATCHWORK" Medio Mezclado(Tone Center) Import/USA, sortie 20/9.
- "THE MUSICIAN'S LIFELINE"(Peter Erskine & Dave Black)
Some months ago, Peter Erskine sent me an e-mail asking if I would be willing to take a brief "survey" and answer some 6-7 questions for a book that he was putting together with Dave Black. Of course, I said, "Yes!" and I attacked those questions with spirit and vigor right away. Sounds simple, right? A-ha!!! But there is yet another story to be told here. Allow me to make this connection for you with the following cautionary tale.....
During my first year of college @ U.C.L.A. in 1965, yes, way back then, in one of my huge survey courses, 500 students in an immense lecture hall, there was a famous 'pop' quiz. Of course, everyone was in various states of panic and feeling that this was so 'unfair' to have this thrown at us - out of nowhere. As we all sat down, probably with our "blue books" in hand (though it could have been a multiple choice exam), the professor or his/her teaching assistant said one final thing to us, BEFORE we would begin, and that was this: "Make certain that before you start, you have read ALL of the instructions carefully! O.K.? You may now begin....."
Well, there must been about 10 instructions, and, idiot that I once was, I read the first 3-4 of them and, as they seemed so simple and basic, I just skipped the rest. Little did I realize that, down at #10, was one that said this [more or less]: "Close your booklet, and bring it to the front of the class! You have completed the exam!" As I was taking the exam, I wondered why a few people had gotten up, turned in their exams, and left. [I can only shake my head and laugh at myself right now!]
So, if you read the introductory story to my piece about the wonderful new book by Peter Erskine and Dave Black, "THE MUSICIAN'S LIFELINE"(Alfred Music), you will understand why, I am, yet again, laughing at myself because, perhaps, I haven't really learned a damn thing in all of these years!!!
The book features fantastic insights and anecdotes from great musicians like [and this is only a partial list]:
Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Dave Liebman, John Scofield, Mike Mainieri, Vinnie Colaiuta, Will Lee, Luis Conte, Adam Nussbaum, Alan Pasqua, Carl Allen, John Beasley, Russ Ferrante, Jorge Calandrelli, Chuck Berghofer, Ignacio Berroa, Terri Lyne Carrington, Gary Burton, Nathan East, George Garzone, Joe Lovano, Jim Keltner, Bernard Purdie, Chuck Rainey, John Robinson, Danny Gottlieb, Lalo Schifrin, Janis Siegel, Leland Sklar, Kenny Werner, and Matt Wilson.
BIG LOVE to all, and congratulations to Pete and Dave for this wonderful and immensely entertaining book, Steve
- NEW VIDEO INTERVIEW!!! This past April 24th, a Wednesday night, I did something that I rarely ever do, and certainly rarely get asked to do, but, as I felt that this was important, I became a part of the prestigious and wonderful interviews conducted by Dr. David Schroeder for his NYU Jazz Interviews Series. For me, this was a great, great honor to now be in the company of so many of my close friends and colleagues. A partial list of those who have preceded me might include: Randy Brecker; Dave Liebman; Gil Goldstein; Peter Erskine; John Abercrombie; John Scofield; Ralph Towner; Jack DeJohnette; Pat Martino; Roy Haynes; Jim Hall; Bill Frisell; Chris Potter; Cedar Walton and just before me, Mike Mainieri.
To have been allowed to share various stories from the past and the present with an audience of Dave's students was so very special for me. It's hard to explain how much it meant to me without getting emotional about it. At this stage of my life, for me, this is the way that things go. Before the interview, Dave and I spent a couple of hours together, which included a nice meal, and by the time that we were ready to film the interview, for me, it was as if I was sitting there with an old friend and colleague. It's rare that one feels this way.
I can't thank Dave enough for having asked me to do this, and to the crew, and all of the wonderful students for their interest and their questions, which followed during the post-filming stage of the evening. I will hope that those of you who take the time to watch and listen will feel as though you were there with us, and that something, one small thing that I might have shared will resonate with you and be useful as your life goes on, especially if you are a person of the arts, an artist involved in music.
In advance, my thanks to everyone who has offered such positive feedback on that evening. But mostly, my deepest thanks to Dave Schroeder because he made it all so easy!!!
NEW PODCAST INTERVIEW!!!. More recently, on the very scary night before HALLOWEEN, October 30th, 2019, I was invited by Dr. Dave Schroeder to continue our original interview, picking it up around 1985, but this time in PODCAST form, which Dr. Dave has now made available via iTunes. If you've got some time to kill, this might be a fun way to do it. Hopefully, the storytelling about various experiences in music, especially going through how each new album came into being will be of interest and edifying to musicians young and old. That was my hope from the outset. Here's wishing everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!!!
Addendum - June 1st, 2019: Jim Ricci a former student of mine, and one of my earliest, saw this entire video interview and was somehow inspired to write and post the following @ Facebook. It is perhaps, without question, the most thoughtful and kind thing that I've ever had written about me, and I wanted to share it with everyone here. It means a great deal to me...
"I just watched a terrific interview with the fabulous jazz guitarist Steve Khan. Steve is a living legend, and I was extremely fortunate to have found him as a guitar teacher and mentor I when I was a young (but very inexperienced) high school student. It was in the early 1970s - a period that, in retrospect, was a pretty crazy era in music. The music scene in NYC seemed to boil-over with an artistic vitality that was powered by atomic energy. The city served as a giant incubator. It was also a virtual melting-pot of musical styles, cultures, and generations. 1970 was a time of radical change, when rock met jazz and everything else in-between. Fusion, confusion, and revolution were in the air.
Steve's recent interview with Dr. David Schroeder at NYU includes some interesting details about this amazing period in history. His story is about how various forces, combined with good luck and a unique synergy among talented musician-friends, shaped the long journey of his life and career. There is a lot of wisdom for musicians in his remarks, and some rather entertaining stories about the giants he worked with throughout the changing phases of his personal musical evolution.
He talks about growing-up as an ordinary kid interested in sports in a home with his dad, who was the famous Hollywood lyricist/songwriter Sammy Cahn. Their houseguests included celebrities such as Dean Martin, and to Steve at the time, that seemed normal. The sound of his father's constant pecking at the typewriter still seems resonate in his memory of a childhood in West Los Angeles. The son of a songsmith, only later did he fully realize the importance of knowing the lyrics of a tune on a tip he heard from Miles Davis.
As a teacher, Steve was serious, demanding, and inspirational. He demonstrated to me by example how to live the life of a musician by doing it - every day - with a passion. I recall going to hear him jam with Gil Evans' experimental ad hoc big band, which was free and open to the public at the "Common Room" connected to the Westbeth artist studios in Greenwich Village where Evans lived. I still have Steve's detailed transcriptions of Wes Montgomery tunes, which prove, once again, that making transcriptions of recorded music can really go a long way in developing one's hearing and musicianship.
Steve wrote a recommendation letter that got me into Berklee. I was accepted, and I moved to Boston where my own musical journey subsequently followed a very different direction in music. We lost contact until just recently. But I feel very lucky to have had this important formative experience with a musical master. I'm still discovering his music, which sounds as fresh today as it did nearly 50 years ago." - Jim Ricci
- JUST PUBLISHED!!! a new Steve Khan interview, conducted by bassist/journalist Antonio Gandía, and presented entirely in Spanish for the September/October issue of Músico Pro Magazine. We are privileged and proud to offer the complete and unexpurgated version of the INTERVIEW here at the website. We will be hoping that all of our Spanish speaking visitors will take advantage of this opportunity to hear directly from Steve in your own language.
No one was more shocked than Steve was when Antonio sent him an e-mail with the news that the editors had decided to make the piece their cover story. After many, many years of doing this, Steve had come to realize that these kinds of public relations niceties were just not "in the cards" for him. It is truly one of those moments in life where one expects absolutely nothing, and then, out of the blue, something, something wonderful drops into one's lap from out of the sky - and there it is!!! It might never, ever happen again, and Steve is so very grateful to everyone involved, but especially to Antonio Gandía for his unrelenting positive energy and good vibes throughout.
Queridos amigos: Hace ya bastante tiempo desde la última vez que hice una entrevista completamente en español. El verano pasado, el bajista / periodista musical Antonio Gandía me escribió y me preguntó si podía hacer una entrevista para la revista "MÚSICO PRO". Yo felizmente respondí "¡Sí! ¡Absolutamente!" Unas semanas más tarde, Antonio y yo establecimos una conversación telefónica/entrevista, y los resultados están ahora disponibles en la edición de septiembre/octubre de la revista. Por cuestiones de espacio, Antonio no pudo incluir todo lo que hablamos en la versión de la revista, sin embargo, el texto completo sin expurgar también aparece en mi sitio web, en una página dedicada, y todos mis amigos que hablan español pueden accederla a través del ENLACE que se proporciona aquí.
Antonio hizo un trabajo maravilloso ya que nuestra conversación cubrió muchas áreas de mi vida en la música, y ahora, espero que brinde una buena lectura para todos los que se preocupen por tomarse el tiempo para leerla. Para aquellos de ustedes que se perdieron de alguno de mis lanzamientos de CD recientes, (porque mis anuncios fueron en su mayoría en inglés), ahora pueden aprender un poco sobre los CDs y en su propio idioma.
Estoy muy agradecido con Antonio y la revista "MÚSICO PRO" por su interés en mí y por dar seguimiento para hacer que esto sucediera. La sorpresa más grande de todas llegó cuando Antonio me envió una copia de la portada, y, por primera vez, en años, décadas, allí estaba yo en la portada de una revista de música. Es notable porque este tipo de cosas nunca me pasan. Entonces, ¿cuál fue el nivel de mi gratitud antes? Ahora se multiplicó 1,000 veces. ¡Y estoy feliz de compartir esto con todos hoy! Los más cálidos deseos y un GRAN abrazo para todos.
- Steve Khan (Septiembre de 2018)
- NOW AVAILABLE!!! What a great pleasure it is to announce that it is now official that BGO Records(UK) has released the reissue of the spectacularly innovative Eyewitness 2 albums "PUBLIC ACCESS-HEADLINE-CROSSINGS"!!!
To make this reissue project viable, would there be a way to include all of the music from both "PUBLIC ACCESS"(1989) and "CROSSINGS"(1994) and somehow add in the 3 tunes recorded for "HEADLINE"(1992)? After great trial & error, there was one way to do it, and it worked! With the recording of "PUBLIC ACCESS" the Eyewitness approach to music-making continued with original members: Anthony Jackson (Contrabass Guitar) and Manolo Badrena (Percussion & Voice), but this time with Dave Weckl (Drums) alongside Steve on guitar.
After a complete break, and the recording of "LET'S CALL THS"(1991), Steve was asked to record again, with Ron Carter (Ac. Bass) and Al Foster (Drums), but to also do 1/2 of the new album with yet another incarnation of Eyewitness, this time including the great Dennis Chambers (Drums). And so, those 3 wonderful performances from "HEADLINE" are now included in this reissue package. Finally, in 1993, the group gathered together again to record "CROSSINGS" and this time, a special guest artist was added to the mix, and the best and most logical choice was Michael Brecker(Tenor Sax), who appeared on the 3 of the 10 tunes.
In all, one can clearly hear the threads of contemporary Latin music being woven and carried forward right to Steve's present work on his 3 most recent albums: "PARTING SHOT"(2011); "SUBTEXT"(2014) and "BACKLOG"(2017)! Listen closely to the music contained in this wonderful reissue, and you will recognize the feeling and sounds of what was to come some 20 years later.
As always, the beautiful reissue cover features the original cover images of Jean-Michel Folon in a gorgeous design by Janet Perr, and you are getting your first look at it here! As it has been in the past, the process to get all the details in order did not happen overnight, and our thanks go out to the good people at Universal Music and BGO Records for their interest, and spirit of cooperation.
In his new and wonderful liner notes for this package, esteemed Jazz journalist Bill Milkowski wrote the following:
"In his most recent outings - 2011's Parting Shot, 2014's Subtext and 2017's Backlog - Khan's blending of Latin rhythms and jazz have come to fruition with timbalero Marc Quiñones, conguero Bobby Allende and bassist Rubén Rodríguez providing the authentic Afro-Cuban grooves to the mix. The seeds for those cross-fertilization experiments were planted on his '70s Columbia albums and nurtured in the early '80s on Eyewitness, Modern Times and Casa Loco. With Public Access, Headline and Crossings, Khan makes the next incremental leap in that continuum. There was nothing like this music and approach to music-making in the '90s - and there is still nothing quite like it."
It wasn't so long ago that the always thoughtful and informed John Kelman wrote a wonderful piece, Eyewitness Remembered, for AllAboutJazz.com, and that very same piece served as an inspiration to float the idea of an Eyewitness reissue to BGO Records. Now, here we are, a couple of years later, and now, an Eyewitness2 reissue has been officially released. Now, Mr. Kelman has written yet another brilliant Review of this new package. We hope that everyone will take a moment to read what he had to say about these recordings and the players. In this spectacular review, Mr. Kelman wrote the following:
"If The Eyewitness Trilogy introduced a group whose concept was innovative at the time and remains so today, the essential "PUBLIC ACCESS-HEADLINE-CROSSINGS" takes it more than a few steps further, both in its move from original material to imaginative interpretations, and in acting as a bridge between the guitarist's earlier recordings and later, even more decidedly Latin-oriented albums.
Khan, more than many guitarists alive today, demonstrates remarkable knowledge and breadth when it comes to jazz, and as an astute and individual interpreter of the Great American Songbook traditions. Eyewitness is often lauded for its unique (especially for its time) language and approach, deeply felt grooves and stellar playing. Still, the group's telepathic ability to engage with one another on a profound level must not be overlooked, its intrinsic conversational ability, a definitive one. It was the Steve Khan of his career defining "EVIDENCE"(1980), who introduced the concept for Eyewitness, whose approach would continue and evolve, and ultimately imbue other projects throughout the rest of his career. If anything, Khan's guitar gymnastics and light-speed phrasings have become all the more effective for the greater care with which he uses them. In the post-"EVIDENCE" world, nothing about Khan's playing could ever be considered superfluous; instead, every note counts, every note matters."
As 2018 came to a close, John Kelman selected this reissue as one of the BEST RELEASES OF 2018. This development was most surprising and a big thrill as a reissue is almost never selected for such an honor!!!
- Where the truth exists about what is, and has been going on in Venezuela is concerned, perhaps my most trusted source is saxophonist/arranger Rafael Greco, who, by the way, is also the author of two beautiful children's books. So, this is as close as we get to a real Renaisance man. We've been close friends since first meeting in Caracas in 1999. I remember going to his home for the first time one night, and, of all things, while getting out of the car, I stepped in some dog shit!!! So, that was my introduction to Rafa and his beloved wife, Pimpi's home!!! Yes, it's true!!! Of course, things like that happen to me too often here in New York! Rafa has become one of my closest musical advisers, where issues of Latin music and the clave are concerned. He is, for me, my first line of defense.
For quite a few years now, I started to notice that Rafa was posting some of his own photos. And I found them to be incredibly artistic, and very moving. I tried to encourage him to continue this pursuit. He recently took a series of photography classes to broaden his skills and perspectives, and the results have been most striking, spectacular. He is really the only person that I follow @ Instagram, and recently, I had been taking note of the photos that he "Liked" - and I would then take screenshots of those photos, and store them away, because they were all so great - each different, but wonderful to these eyes. Then, while waiting for the release of my new album, I decided to create a page of all of these various Great Photo Selections, and have them exist together as a kind of Mini-Gallery! If you choose to do so, you can visit that page now via this link, and take a tour by slowly scrolling down. At the top, I also wrote a little story about my father's own relationship with photography, and for me, that brings this topic full circle.
Whatever he does in this life, Rafael Greco is a beautiful human being, I wish that I could be more like him in so many ways. He's great musician, a great husband, a great father, a unique and special composer, and now, a spectacular photographer too. I am proud to say that he is my friend.
- Just yesterday, Friday, November 17th, 2017, I received a message from, yes, actually a good friend, the wonderful Brazilian guitarist, Ricardo Silveira, asking me if, in this incorrectly credited YouTube video, the great Austrian guitarist, Wolfgang Muthspiel was actually playing my father, Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky's Oscar® nominated song, from ancient childhood days in 1950, "Be My Love." I listened to the performance, recorded live at the Vienna Jazz Festival in 2009, and after the first 3 notes, I knew that it was, in fact, my father's song. But, I could not stop listening because Wolfgang's interpretation was so beautiful! After writing back to Ricardo, I immediately wrote to my dear sister Laurie, to share Wolfgang's video, and an hour or so later, she responded by writing: "Best version of Be My Love EVER!!!"
As is often my custom, I wanted to write to Wolfgang, though we have never met in person, and so, the only means that I could locate quickly was a Fan Page at Facebook. I wanted to share our exchange, which proved to be very warm and touching. It went something like this:
[SK] Dear Wolfgang: I don't believe that, after all these years, we've ever actually met in person - but the older that I get, the more moments from the past I tend to forget - meaning that perhaps our paths did cross once or twice when I was touring Europe more often? If I am forgetting something, please forgive me.
A dear friend in Brazil, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, just sent me your beautiful interpretation of "Be My Love" (though on the web it is incorrectly labeled as some other song) which was written by my father, Sammy Cahn, many, many years ago when I was a very little boy. The original "light opera" version sung by the Italian tenor, Mario Lanza is almost comical for all of its melodrama. But, your playing makes it sound like a wonderful standard that more people should play. I think that I've heard Keith Jarrett play it. Do you know the original?
If you've never heard it, it's O.K. to laugh - especially when Lanza arrives at the word "ETERNALLY"!!!
Though my father and I had a very difficult relationship, every so often, I find the proper sentimentality to interpret one of his songs as well - I almost always play them as ballads.
Wishing you well now and always, you're a great, great player!!!
Most sincerely, Steve Khan
[Wolfgang] Dear Steve, your e-mail touched me deeply. First of all, because I have such a respect for you as a guitarist/composer/soundmaker, and also because you shared your feelings about this song and your father. I find it so incredibly beautiful that music always can transcend the borders or limits that we often struggle with in "real life" - and I feel that even if Mario Lanza really lays into it, he delivers something enthusiastic and ecstatic. I believe him, mostly because the song is so good.Thanks for reaching out! With warm regards, Wolfgang
[SK] Dear Wolfgang!!! How wonderful to hear from you!!! It's so strange that reaching out like that actually comes from my father too!!! He always said to me: "Steve, if someone does something that you like - tell them!!!" And, in my way, I've tried to do this - at least for most of my adult life.
From afar, I have admired your body of work greatly, but sometimes, I don't know the format in which to reach out to someone. My apologies for not having said something sooner.
Warmest wishes always, and let's all hope that 2018 will be a MUCH better year for our beloved planet!!! - Steve
In the end, there are moments when it really feels wonderful to be a part of the community of musicians - all of us trying our best to do something special, and of meaning and significance, never really knowing who, if anyone, is actually listening. I just wanted to share my experience with Wolfgang with everyone who visits these pages.
- NOW AVAILABLE!!! "BACKLOG" will be the title of Steve's new recording, and there is, of course, a subtitle in Spanish, "Asuntos Pendientes." On this album, really the 3rd in a series, Steve continues to expand the potential of the guitar in the context of Latin music, and here, the core group features: Rubén Rodríguez (Baby Bass & Elec. Bass), Bobby Allende (Conga & Bongo), Marc Quiñones (Timbal & Perc.), and joined for the 1st time by Mark Walker (Drums). A series of old and dear friends, respected colleagues as guest artists added so much to the music, they include: Rob Mounsey (Keys & Orchestrations); Randy Brecker (Trumpet); Mike Mainieri (Vibes); Bob Mintzer (Tenor Sax) and Tatiana Parra (Voice). In all, they perform Steve's arrangements of compositions by: Thelonious Monk, "Criss Cross"; Greg Osby, "Concepticus in C"; Ornette Coleman, "Latin Genetics" and "Invisible"; Bobby Hutcherson, "Head Start" and "Rojo"; and Andrew Hill, "Catta." The recording features two gorgeous ballads: "Our Town" written by Steve's father, Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, and "Emily"(Johnny Mandel-Johnny Mercer). Perhaps the great surprise of the album is the incredible interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "Go Home."
Once again, the music was recorded by James Farber at Avatar Studios during January-April, 2016. Michel Granger's beautiful image graces the cover, and gives this 3rd album in the series its own unique look. As a matter of fact, there is a slightly different look for the USA, Japan, and Europe.
For several reasons, the releases were staggered! 55 Records(Japan) released the album on September 21st, 2016, and then ESC Records(Germany/Europe) released the album on October 7th, 2016. The U.S. release on Tone Center Records was finally released on February 24th, 2017. If you already have both "PARTING SHOT" and "SUBTEXT" you will not want to miss adding this one to your collection!!!
Offered by the great AllAboutJazz.com site, I was thrilled to read this great REVIEW of "BACKLOG" written by Mark F. Turner.
And, in his just published review for AllAboutJazz.com, James Nadal wrote the following about "BACKLOG":
"Steve Khan has undertaken the role of expanding and redefining the role of the guitar in the hybrid genre of Latin Jazz..... With Backlog, Khan rounds out the mesmerizing trilogy encompassing Parting Shot (2011) and Subtext (2014). Khan's music continues to evolve, and his quest to take the guitar into an uncharted trajectory has bestowed him with a singular style. No one plays or sounds like Steve Khan, his clever interpretations of jazz compositions shaken up with Afro-Caribbean rhythms is always on the cusp. He is the inquisitive jazz musician mastering the evasive art of reinvention and improvisation on his own terms, in his own time."
From the "LATIN JAZZ CORNER" website, we just received news that Chip Boaz had named "BACKLOG" as its "ALBUM OF THE WEEK"!!! We could not be more pleased and grateful for this honor. His review of the album shows that he has a deep understanding of the genre, and what Steve has been trying to do in creating a broader role for the guitar within it. Mil gracias Chip!!! Un gran abrazo!!!
In the August, 2017 issue of JazzTimes magazine, Steve was featured in their recurring column entitled "Overdue Ovation" and written by Mac Randall. The piece was conducted as an interview and offers some of Steve's unique perspectives on his career and his recent recordings.
An August, 2017 issue of the UK's GUITAR TECHNIQUES magazine presents Steve's INTERVIEW, conducted with Jason Sidwell during January, 2017. Though very guitar-centric, it offers Steve's very philosophical answers to some general musical questions. Now, you can also view the original "Q&A."
Once again, I am honored and really thrilled to have another spectacular review from Rafael Vega Curry, in Spanish of course, which appears in the March 31st issue of "Reseña" from "Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular de Puerto Rico."
So, for all our Spanish speaking visitors, this was definitely something most special that we wanted to share with you.
Yet another very perceptive, thoughtful and well-written combination review/interview arrived by England's Matt Phillips and it appears in the March issue of his great blog, "MOVING THE RIVER." One just never knows where a great review might appear. Many thanks to Matt for continuing to write about Steve's recordings!
As it was released in Japan, "JAZZ LIFE" magazine wrote this of the album: "Cutting edge Latin jazz album with a completely new approach to wonderful compositions. Steve Khan's unique voice creates exciting music no matter what the material might be, or the group with which he plays. That is what makes him so great!"
After its release in Germany, Ingo Andruschkewitsch wrote the following about the album: "Latin Jazz that is inspiring from the first second that you listen to it. You can hear pure joy from the musicians with every note. Steve's musicianship and musicality are unbelievable!!!"
- As the story of the release of "BACKLOG" continues to unfold, if you are interested in reading the collection of Reviews and Press that we continue to compile, you can now access them on a separate page via the link. Over the course of the run of the album, we continue to update this page. Thanks to everyone from the public, to radio programmers, and the press, who have been so supportive of the recording since its release in late February, 2017.
- With the passing of Steely Dan's Walter Becker, fans and writers alike have been seeking out any and all kinds of information. I was contacted by Ron Hart from "BILLBOARD" magazine about doing an interview with some specific questions about Walter. As I knew that the great Dean Parks was involved as well, I wanted to be a part of the piece. For those of you who visit these pages, and can't get enough about Walter and Steely Dan, here's the Interview in its entirety.
Not long after the aforementioned interview, I received an e-mail from NEWSWEEK's Zach Schonfeld about doing a phone interview for his piece about the "40TH ANNIVERSARY" of the release of "AJA" with the concentration on "Peg" and the search for a guitar solo. And so, inspired by, or annoyed by all these requests for interviews and comments about Steely Dan, I decided to just try to condense everything into two new pages for this site. Perhaps, fans can now just access and read these pages and be satisfied that these are my answers to all the burning questions? Those pages are now: Reflections on Steely Dan's "AJA" and also, Reflections on Steely Dan's "GAUCHO". Please enjoy them with my best wishes.
- Earlier in 2017, Steve was asked by Clearwater, Florida's PLAYERS SCHOOL OF MUSIC director Vicky Fulop to contribute a Guest Column for "BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE" that would focus on his point-of-view about the role and function of the bass, electric or acoustic, within a musical group. There was to be a word count limit for the column, but Steve agreed to try to stay within the confines of the set boundaries. Now, with the August publication of the print version of the magazine, we can share Steve's thought with you here. We hope that everyone will enjoy and perhaps even benefit from Steve's remarks.
- Somehow, another April 28th, has arrived, and Steve marks a pretty significant milestone, and more than those already in the rearview mirror, the number associated with this singular April birthday faces him like a huge neon sign. And that sign reads: #75 has arrived!!! To honor this moment, Steve has written an addendum to his original essay, or more to the point, a collection of thoughts titled: "On Turning '75'"!
During the prior discourse for #70, he sentimentally touched upon diverse topics such as: his years between 60 and 70; Barack Obama; life expectancy for baby boomers; his father and Frank Sinatra; his recordings released during the past 10 years; almost getting mugged on Broadway; one's looks; health issues; love and loss; and finally, what does his green field look like 10 years later.
But now, with the passage of 5 years, even though things might not look all that different, newer, fresh perspectives arrive via various experiences. The arrival of a new one song project with vocalist Mark Kibble. Thoughts after seeing Kenneth Branagh's "BELFAST" and, last but not least, thoughts generated long ago by a single line from Billy Wilder's 1959 film, "SOME LIKE IT HOT." Hopefully, it all coalesces into something coherent and, in its way, moving.
No matter what the number is for any particular birthday, there is probably always good cause for moments of great reflection. And one returns only to ask the repeated philosophical question: "Am I anywhere near where I expected to be by this time in my life?" How one answers that question tells us a great deal.
- WEBSITE UPGRADE!!! Some years ago, at the suggestion of webmaster, Blaine Fallis, we made a big change at the site, and added the Wimpy Button so that visitors could play our soundclips and remain on any analysis, transcription or lead sheet page housed at both KORNER 1 and KORNER 2. Though no system is completely perfect for the individual purposes and needs of any particular music website, this system seemed to be functioning well, and for a number of years. Of course, with the ever-changing technologies and innovations in web design, sometimes, one doesn't know if your site is really up-to-date or not.
Recently, of all things, I was in P.C. Richard, here in New York City, trying to buy a small portable AM/FM radio, and I got into a conversation with the young clerk. At a certain point, he asked me, "What do you do?" So, rather than trying to explain that to him, I told him that I was a guitarist, and tried to point him in the direction of my website, where he could listen to some soundclips from my recordings. Because he can't access the Web from the store's computer system, he just used his handy/dandy iPhone. When he arrived at the Discography page for "SUBTEXT," I told him to scroll down, and then just "push any button" and he would hear the music. He said to me, "I don't see any buttons!" I couldn't believe it, but he was telling me the truth. When I arrived home, I phoned Blaine and described what had happened, and when he checked his own iPhone, he realized that the technologies for the iPhone, Android, Tablet, and iPad had passed our little website, and flown right on by!!! It is amazing to realize that, for the longest time, countless visitors to the site, employing their smartphones, never even knew that they could hear music soundclips at all the various pages. Now, all that has changed!
So, Blaine got in contact with the Wimpy Player website and their technical support, and we were, within a matter of days of some back-and-forth, armed with the new tools to begin to upgrade some 800 music pages at both KORNER 1 and KORNER 2. Endless days of pasting in new code, and testing everything and, believe it or not, in a little over one week, everything was ready to go!!! How about that?!?!?! We decided to go with a slightly different look for our new Wimpy Buttons, and they are now blue, as you can see, and not the original gray buttons from our past.
The final step, and I needed a long, long break after the KORNER pages had been done, was to finally, after all these years, offer soundclips for all of the songs at all of the individual DISCOGRAPHY pages. That immense task was recently completed, and now, everyone, after clicking on a recording's mini-CD cover at that page, can read my reflections about that album and, while doing so, can listen to soundclips of any of the songs! Give it a try!!!
In the end, it is our hope that now everyone can enjoy hearing the music that has always been offered here, but finally available on contemporary devices that go beyond our normal laptop and desktop computers!!! Wishing you all happy explorations at the site!!!
- NOW AVAILABLE!!! We are so pleased that we can now officially announce that, in the March/April area of 2016, BGO Records(UK) will release a reissue of the groundbreaking albums "EYEWITNESS-MODERN TIMES-CASA LOCO"!!!
All 3 albums will be digitally remastered and housed on 2 CDs. Originally recorded between 1981-1983, these albums featured the seminal group of: Anthony Jackson (Bass Guitar & Contrabass Guitar), Steve Jordan (Drums) and, Manolo Badrena (Percussion & Voice), alongside Steve on guitar.
This will be the first time that "MODERN TIMES" has been available on CD outside of Japan. And, of course, as we near the end of the CD Age, this might well be the last time these fantastic recordings will be offered as CDs.
As always, the beautiful reissue cover features the original cover images of Jean-Michel Folon in a gorgeous design by Janet Perr, and you are getting your first look at it here! It was a long and difficult process to make this reissue happen, and our thanks go out to the good people at Universal Music and BGO Records for their interest, and spirit of cooperation.
It wasn't so long ago that John Kelman wrote a wonderful piece, Eyewitness Remembered, for allaboutjazz.com, and that very same piece served as an inspiration to float the idea of an Eyewitness reissue to BGO Records. Now, here we are, some months later, the reissue has been officially released and now, Kelman has penned this superb Review of the package. We hope that everyone will take a moment to read what he had to say about these recordings and the players.
- On January 20th-21st, 2017, inauguration weekend, in order to distract myself and avoid watching anything on TV, I decided to sit down and express some thoughts that had been building within for quite some time, especially since November 8th of 2016. And so, I wrote a short ESSAY about the Snake Oil Salesman that "we" as a nation had elected, and now installed, as President of the United States.
If you care to, you are welcome to read them and take them with you for whatever they might be worth. Like many of my particular political, moral, ethical slant on life, I am extremely concerned about the future of the USA, and the impact that this is going to have on the rest of the civilized, and not-so-civilized world. I suppose that we can hope for better times ahead, but it is so very hard to see that right now!!! As some young people say: "Peace out!!!"
- Just after November 4th, 2008, when Barack Obama was elected to become our 44th President. While so much of the rest of our world was rejoicing in our choice of a leader, I extended my congratulations to President Obama, as well as to our new First Lady, Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia Ann and Sasha.
Once his election was a reality, I wrote an ESSAY which detailed my thoughts and observations. These were obviously solely my thoughts alone, and some of them might have resonated with some of you, and others might not have found them to be so agreeable. No matter what, it was the dawning of a new day, a new age, and hopefully better times ahead for everyone!!! Perhaps, dare I say it, an even better world for everyone!!!
Addendum - November 12th, 2016: With the election now a few days in the rear view mirror, we all must accept the results of what has happened, people from all sections of our nation, and the world as well, now begin to assess the 8 years of President Barack Obama. During the run-up to the election, the campaign, and since November 8th, I have been hearing, and from far more well-informed people than I, the word legacy used for this president's term in office. And, for as much as I have heard, I have not heard one single person offer what I am about to say here. And that is this....
In 2009, when Barack and Michelle Obama took over residence in the White House, the United States was at one of its lowest moments in terms of its perception by the people, the countries, and the leaders of the rest of civilized world. For the years prior to President Obama's election, I had been traveling around the world, and really, for the 1st time in my professional life as a musician, I had felt incredible hatred and resentment coming at the U.S. from wherever I traveled. Everything felt so very different, unlike any time before. It made me horribly sad, sad for all of us who, no matter what, love our country, and take great pride in being Americans, North Americans! So now, here we are, it is late 2016, and in only 71 days from now, Barack and Michelle Obama will leave the White House for the last time with their two wonderful daughters, Malia and Sasha, and I am going to miss this great, great family tremendously every day that will follow.
For me, President Obama's greatest accomplishment during his time in office was that, around the world, he restored, and elevated to new heights, the dignity of the office of the president, and the kind of respect and even love that we all would hope that our president would command and deserve. He spoke beautifully, and always in respectful, dignified and measured tones, and people, and world leaders listened. Whether or not they agreed with what was said is not necessarily the most important thing. They listened. Virtually everywhere Barack and Michelle Obama traveled, and represented us all so well, they were our Global Ambassadors of good will, and were greeted with the kind of adoration that we could only have hoped any person from the USA might receive. When they leave the White House, the Obamas will still have that, and they will always have it, because of the way that they have carried themselves, and spoke throughout these past 8 years.
When President Obama took office, he faced the daunting task of trying to correct the mess that had been left at his doorstep, and to try to do it with an excessively hostile congress waiting to fight him on any proposal that he might make to those bodies. How is one supposed to "accomplish" anything when facing that? Let us not forget the racial component too, Barack Obama had to be perfect in every detail, and, in many ways, he hardly made an error. Imagine living with that pressure alone. And so, with congress, he tried, and he tried, and he tried again, only to be rejected at almost every turn. So, on the legislation side of things, perhaps there might not be much to grab onto when looking back at those 8 years? But, think again, and remember just where our international posture was before 2009, and where it is now as he leaves office. Watch and listen to what happens as he makes his last trip to Europe as our president. And then, come January 20th of 2017, you watch and see how President Donald Trump is greeted and thought of around the world!!! When you have observed this, you will begin to realize, and perhaps finally appreciate just how wonderful the Obamas were at carrying us all with them. I, for one, am going to miss them both so very much, and I will be wishing them the very best of everything, good health, and happiness for the rest of their days. Thank you for everything Barack and Michelle Obama.
New York, NY
November 12th, 2016
- On November 10th, 2016, journalist/historian, Neal Gabler wrote a fantastic essay/editorial for the website, Moyers & Company expressing in a most thoughtful, eloquent, and emotional manner, what is, for many, a most sober assessment of our recent election on November 8th. His piece was titled: "Farewell, America" and now, you can read it in full here. Take some time, read it at your leisure, and then, think about what you have read. @ iTunes!!! After years of intense hard work, communications, and negotiations, the following recordings can now be downloaded via iTunes!!! Presently you can get: "TIGHTROPE"; "THE BLUE MAN"; "ARROWS"; "THE COLLECTION"; "EVIDENCE"; "EYEWITNESS";
"CASA LOCO"; "LOCAL COLOR"; "PUBLIC ACCESS";
"LET'S CALL THIS";
"GOT MY MENTAL"; "THE GREEN FIELD"; "BORROWED TIME"; "THE SUITCASE"; "YOU ARE HERE"; "PARTING SHOT";
and, of course, "SUBTEXT"!
Then, in the December 1st issue of the London Review of Books, Cambridge political scholar, David Runciman wrote a most engaging piece about the 2016 U.S. election of Donald Trump titled, "Is This How Democracy Ends?" You can also read it in full here. Taken with the Gabler essay, you have two perspectives on the same election by brilliant writers, one from the United States, and the other from England, which offer the national and international perspectives for those who view the events in a particular way, as I do. Enjoy both pieces, and then, pause to give them some thought. We will see how the things written look in the coming years!
- AVAILABLE NOW!!! As 2014 was coming to a close, I received some very exciting news from the UK that BGO Records was going to release: "TIGHTROPE"(1977); "THE BLUE MAN"(1978); and "ARROWS"(1979) packaged together as 3 Albums on 2 CDs. This, of course, was a complete and total surprise to me. For those of you who might not have even been born prior to those years, these 3 albums featured a consistent personnel, including: Randy Brecker; Michael Brecker; David Sanborn; Don Grolnick; Will Lee; and Steve Gadd. Over the course of the albums there were appearances by these great Guest Artists: Bob James; Ralph MacDonald; Mike Mainieri; Rick Marotta; Errol "Crusher" Bennett; Jeff Mironov; David Spinozza and Rob Mounsey.
Andy Gray(BGO Records) and his staff were so kind as to allow me to have Janet Perr design a cover that would include a previously unused Jean-Michel Folon image. Many people, outside of the music business, believe that "the artist" always has something to say about how their "work" or "catalog" is to be used and treated. But, when you do not "own" the actual recordings, the artist has absolutely NOTHING to say about anything, and is almost NEVER consulted about anything. Sometimes, this can have disastrous artistic consequences - because, in the end, no one knows those older recordings better than the artist!!! So, for everything that is positive about this release, I am very grateful to Andy for allowing me to be in-the-loop about many of the significant issues!!! At present, the UK release was rescheduled for March 30th, 2015 with the USA release quickly to follow on April 7th!!!
For those of you who can read in French, or can, at the very least, deduce what is being said, once again, Frédèric Goaty has written a fantastic piece for Muziq Magazine, the title of which fundamentally translates to: "The Cult Trilology," referring to the 3 Columbia albums, now offered in this fantastic reissue package. Enjoy his great article one way or another!!!
- As 2015 began, the cosmos seemed to perfectly aligned for certain events to come together. It all began when, as part of his Rediscovery reviews series, allaboutjazz.com's senior writer John Kelman wrote an incredible review of the original "EYEWITNESS" album. The review points out how this recording has informed and influenced all of Steve's work right up to the present. As news of that review began to reverberate through Facebook and the Internet, we were informed via Frédèric Goaty, one of France's premier Jazz journalists, that Peter Cato had just written an article for Muziq Magazine, which prominently features all three Eyewitness albums as part of a notion that links music from other genres to the music of The Police.
So, we hope that you will take advantage of the link and look at Peter's article which is now featured at a page that we created for it!
- In early April, 2015, Matt Phillips posted a wonderful interview that we did for his Moving the River blog as it offered us both the opportunity to speak about the "CASA LOCO" recording, and everything [well not quite everything!] that went into it back in 1983. Of course, we spoke about the brilliant contributions of Anthony Jackson, Steve Jordan and Manolo Badrena. For me, it was all wonderful reflecting back on those days, and feeling the enthusiasm and energy coming from Matt about an album that he obviously loved and felt was important to the whole scheme of the music from that time. I hope that everyone who visits these pages will take a few moments and read the conversation, and reflect on the music. Old fans will surely enjoy it, and perhaps a couple generations of new fans will be brought into the fold now too! One can always hope!
I have also posted the same Interview here at the website with a page that we created specifically for it! Thanks so much to Matt Phillips for wanting to do a feature on "CASA LOCO."
- AVAILABLE NOW!!! "SUBTEXT" is the title of Steve's forthcoming recording, and again, there is a subtitle in Spanish, "Subtexto en Azul." On the album, Steve continues his explorations of the grand traditions of Latin music, and this time, the core group features: Rubén Rodríguez (El. Bass & Baby Bass), Bobby Allende (Conga), Marc Quiñones (Timbal), and Dennis Chambers (Drums). At varying moments, they are joined by some great musicians, dear friends, as guest artists, including: Rob Mounsey (Keys & Orchestrations); Randy Brecker (Flügelhorn); Gil Goldstein (Accordion); and Mariana Ingold (Vocals).
In all, they perform Steve's arrangements of compositions by: Ornette Coleman: "Bird Food"(featuring Randy Brecker); Freddie Hubbard: "Baraka Sasa"; Wayne Shorter: "Infant Eyes"; Greg Osby: "Heard"; Thelonious Monk: "Hackensack"; and the gorgeous ballad, "Never Let Me Go"(Livingston-Evans). All this, plus 2 originals from Steve, and, a Cumbia driven Vallenato epic collaboration between Steve and Mariana Ingold(which features Gil Goldstein).
Once again, the music was beautifully recorded by James Farber at Avatar Studios during January 29th-30th, 2014. Michel Granger's spectacular image graces the cover, and contributes its own particular "subtext." The CD package was designed by the super-talented Janet Perr.
Again, 55 Records(Japan); ESC Records(Germany/Europe) and Tone Center Records(USA) will form this important part of the team. 55 Records released the album on May 21st, and it's safe to say that ESC Records released it on May 30th. The U.S. release is coming shortly on June 24th. If you enjoyed "PARTING SHOT," you will surely love this new one!!!
The reviews have just started to come in, beginning with a stupendous review from allaboutjazz.com's senior writer, John Kelman. It's so rare that a review is given the space to be so thorough and detailed. As the artist, one can only appreciate a moment like this and value it. Japan's JAZZ LIFE magazine has already written that the recording is: "An ambitious work, hot music filled with Khan's artistry!!!" AllAboutJazz' Dan Bilawsky writes: "....musicians know the score when it come to this venerable guitarist: Khan kills in his own special way."
For anyone who is interested in reading further Reviews and Press, you can now access them on a separate page via the link. Over the course of the run of the album, we continued to update this page and many reviews were added to it. Thanks to everyone from the public, to radio programmers, and the press, who have been so supportive of the recording since its release in late June, 2014.
- On Wednesday, October 15th, 2014, I trekked out to Brooklyn and the home, and home studio, of singer/songwriter-drummer-podcast host, Leo Sidran to sit down for a 90-minute conversation that ended-up being closer to 3 hrs.! You can listen to Episode 21: Steve Khan via this link. Past episodes have featured dear friends and respected colleagues, including: Will Lee; Michael Leonhart; Rob Mounsey; James Farber; Janis Siegel, and most recently, Gil Goldstein. Though I have known Leo and his well-known father, Ben Sidran, for the longest time, it was still a great honor and privilege to be asked to be a part of this wonderful series of conversations. If I had a great speaking voice like Leo possesses, I would probably enjoy doing these kinds of things too, but, as you'll hear, I don't think that I was gifted with such a voice. Our conversation was wide-ranging and, as it would be for any such setting, the fact the Leo had such a great understanding and empathy for my particular career path and philosophy, it made everything so very easy. I enjoyed it all very, very much. My most sincere thanks to Leo for making it such a fantastic experience.
In a recent development, for the first time, Leo has decided to add another portion of our interview, one that does not appear in the podcast, to the website, and you can now access the Bonus Segment just below the main interview.
Here is the most extensive interview that I have done in years, or it's certainly the only one that I can recall where the entire conversation has been shared in print. My most sincere thanks to Adam St. James and everyone at Guitar.com for affording me this kind of open-ended forum. Adam did a spectacular job transcribing a phone conversation that lasted longer than an hour!!! I hope that everyone who takes the time to read it will enjoy it.
Of course, over the years, I have realized that a spoken interview was meant to heard, and often times, when it goes to print and then becomes prose, what was intended to be heard just does not read well on the page. So, I have labored to revise many of my responses so that they now read as was my original intention or hope. The Interview by Adam St. James can now be accessed via this link as well. It's up to you.
- This past May 29th, 2014, I had the privilege and honor to finally meet Juan, Andrés, and Mariano, the members of the brilliant group from Argentina, Aca Seca Trio, and to hear them perform at Joe's Pub here in New York City. I wrote a personal reflection of that experience in both Spanish and in English, and posted it here at the website for all to read. If you are not familiar with their music, just click on any of the photos, and that will transport you to YouTube and a video of any one of my favorites tunes of theirs. I hope that they can make a speedy return to the USA for more concerts. Buen viaje hermanos!!!
- FINALLY AVAILABLE
As of January 28th, all the significant catalog recordings will have been made available. My most sincere thanks to everyone involved in making this become a reality. Check back here for more news.
During the evening of Sunday, February 10th, 2013, I received a wonderful phone call from engineer James Farber informing me that, Brent Fischer had just accepted the Grammy for his beloved father, Clare Fischer, as ¡RITMO!" had won a Grammy for the BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM!!! I was so happy for Clare, his dear wife Donna, and, of course, and his son Brent, who keeps the flame burning brightly!!! James also recounted to me that, in Brent's acceptance speech, he actually made the effort to mention me, along with fellow participants: Peter Erskine and Alex Acuña. That was so very thoughtful and kind of Brent. For me, it was, quite simply, a great, great honor to have played a small part in the recording! Congratulations to everyone involved!!! Bravo!!!
If you would like to read about my participation on the tune, "San Francisco, P.M."(Dedicated to Cal Tjader) which opens the CD, just click on the CD cover, and it will take you there. I hope that you will enjoy reading the story, and, of course, hearing the solo.
AVAILABLE!!! "PARTING SHOT" is Steve's brand new recording, and it features Eyewitness veterans: Anthony Jackson, Dennis Chambers, and Manolo Badrena, alongside the tremendous Latin percussion team of Marc Quiñones and Bobby Allende. Together they perform 7 new compositions from Steve, and his interpretations of "Bye-ya" by Thelonious Monk, and both "Chronology" and "Blues Connotation" by Ornette Coleman. Recorded by James Farber at Avatar Studios on November 6th-7th, 2010, and mixing was just completed this past January 7th.
This spectacular recording features performances by guest artists: Rob Mounsey(keyboard & orchestrations), and, Steve was honored to have both Andrés Beeuwsaert(Aca Seca Trio) and Brasilian vocalist, Tatiana Parra singing the vocalese section on Steve's tune, "Influence Peddler." Perhaps, though it might be too bold to say, this is one of the first Latin Jazz recordings led by a guitarist in decades.
The simultaneous releases are now scheduled as follows: 55 Records(Japan) will release the CD first on April 20th. And then, on April 26th, both Tone Center Records(USA) and ESC Records(Germany/Europe) will follow. The cover art features another one of Steve's favorite artists, the great Frenchman Michel Granger. It has been a longtime dream for Steve to be able to feature a cover by Granger.
The reviews have just started to come in, beginning with great reviews from allaboutjazz.com's senior writer, John Kelman and Mark F. Turner. Please make certain that you also take some time to read STEVE'S PERSONAL REFLECTIONS on each tune from "PARTING SHOT." When "In the Artist's Own Words" was launched as a feature during 2006, the very first presentation was Steve's Personal Reflections on "THE GREEN FIELD."
For anyone who is interested in reading further Reviews and Press, you can now access them on a separate page via the link. Thanks to everyone from the public, to radio programmers, and the press, who have been so supportive of the recording since its release in early May, 2011.
- Recently, Steve was asked to participate in guitarist Adam Levy's survey, "13 QUESTIONS." The long list of participants, answering Adam's inventive questions, includes: Bill Frisell; Steve Cárdenas; Mark Goldenberg; Charlie Hunter; and, of course, the author himself!!! Hoping that everyone will take a moment to peruse the site and read Steve's responses as well as those of his colleagues.
- On Monday, May 24th, Steve will be the guest of both Rick Such and Eddy Cabello as Inside Musicast presents an hour-long interview, including songs that span the scope of Steve's recording career. The podcast will be archived from that date forward, and anyone can then access the interview. Many thanks to both Rick and Eddy for their meticulous preparation and for the fun and energetic dialog that took place that evening.
Not long after Steve's interview aired, Rick and Eddy presented a wonderful interview with Rob Mounsey. Hoping that everyone will get to hear both!!!
- NOW AVAILABLE!!! In 2008, we announced that Tone Center Records(U.S./Canada), ESC Records(Germany/Europe), and 55 Records(Japan) had all released the double "live" CD titled: "THE SUITCASE." Needless to say, it was very exciting to see this finally happen!
This incredible recording features Steve alongside Anthony Jackson(Contrabass Guitar) and Dennis Chambers(Drums) and was recorded on the last night of their European Tour on May 17th, 1994. The recording took place as part of a live radio broadcast for WDR as the trio performed at Stadtgarten Club in Köln, Germany. Recorded digitally and direct to a 2-track master, the CDs feature truly remarkable performances from all three players, but, it is easy to recognize that these are historic representations of the art of both Anthony Jackson and Dennis Chambers. What takes place on the nearly 18-minute version of Joe Henderson's "Caribbean Fire Dance" will be talked about for a long, long time. Anthony Jackson's solo 'prelude' to the title track is also a truly outstanding moment.
Once again, the CD is graced by a beautiful 'suitcase' image from Jean-Michel Folon which makes this package extra special for Steve. The release of this now legendary concert is not without a rather remarkable story. Please take a moment, click on the cover image link, and read about it. Some details have been left out to protect the innocent!
For anyone who is interested in reading the Reviews and Press, you can now access them on a separate page via the above link. Thanks to everyone from the public, radio programmers, and press who have been so supportive of the recording since its release.
As the year comes to an end, "THE SUITCASE" was just named one of the BEST JAZZ CDs OF 2008 by allaboutjazz.com's senior writer, John Kelman. We are, of course, most appreciative of this honor!
- The Grammy nominated "BORROWED TIME" was released on June 5th, and since the first reviews had been published, the reaction to the recording from the music critics seemed to be pretty unanimous in favor of Steve's latest work. For anyone who is interested in reading the Reviews and Press, you can now access them on a separate page via the above link. Thanks to everyone from the public, radio programmers, and press who have been so supportive of the recording since its release.
- But, before we get to the reviews, please make certain that you read STEVE'S PERSONAL REFLECTIONS on all the tunes from "BORROWED TIME." When this new column, "In the Artist's Own Words" was launched during 2006 by allaboutjazz.com, the very first feature was Steve's Personal Reflections on all the tunes from "THE GREEN FIELD." In both cases, they were originally written to give some personal and historical perspective for what were to be the Japanese liner notes, it is now hoped that everyone can benefit from reading just what went into both of these wonderful recordings.
Though its release in early 2006 seems like such a long time ago, "THE GREEN FIELD" sessions from May 23rd & 24th, 2005 still remain fresh in the memory.
The last of the recorded tracks from those sessions, "Dreamsville" written by the great Henry Mancini, will still have to sit and await a new opportunity for a release as there just was not any room for it to fit on either of the last two CDs. Right now, it's hard to imagine just how that one isolated track could fit somewhere else.
For those of you who are still interested in reading the Interviews and Press associated with this release, you can now access them on a separate page via the above link.
Not to be redundant, but, another very popular feature has been "STEVE'S PERSONAL REFLECTIONS" on the recording, and those are available via the wonderful allaboutjazz.com website.
- For those of you who have been asking about and requesting videos or DVDs, finally there is something that you can see on YouTube. For years I have had two VHS cassettes sitting in a DVD case and basically just collecting dust. They come from a concert that was recorded on February 7th, 1992 at New York's then very famous club, The Bottom Line. On that night, the trio consisted of Jay Anderson(Ac. Bass) and Ben Perowsky(Drums). We had been logging miles together as trio, along with some other great bassists and drummers for a few years and a nice chemistry had developed by the time we did this particular gig. Looking back, it's ironic that "HEADLINE" had been recorded just 3 weeks prior to this concert.
Recently, through the website, I had received several e-mails, mostly from Europe, from fans telling me that they now had bootleg audio versions of this concert, which included 14 tunes over 2 sets. I had no idea that anyone could have found these things because the videos were done for a production company in Japan. I have actually never even seen these performances, as I don't like watching such things. However, it was because of these e-mails that I decided to seek out the help of my good friend and renowned video artist/editor, Phil Fallo to make an artistic transfer from the VHS format to DVD. I, of course, kept both Jay and Ben 'in the loop' about our progress in doing this. We decided that we would have my webmaster, Blaine Fallis, upload four(4) tunes to YouTube and see what happens. So now, you can watch and listen to the following tunes via these links: "Tyrone" which appeared on the "HEADLINE" CD. "Masqualero" which appeared on the "LET'S CALL THIS" CD. "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You" which I have never recorded, and we rarely ever played this one live. It is my little tribute to Kenny Burrell. And finally, "Caribbean Fire Dance" which appears on both "HEADLINE" and now "THE SUITCASE."
From a purely historical perspective, I suppose that it's interesting to note that "CROSSINGS" was recorded just two years later. And, "THE SUITCASE" was recorded on tour just after that. Jay, Ben and I hope that everyone will enjoy seeing these videos.
- I suppose that, sooner or later, everything just catches up to you. A fan from Europe wrote and asked me if I had seen myself on YouTube. My answer was: "Of course not!" So, I clicked on the link which he had sent, and suddenly I was taken back to May 11th, 1990, when I taped a local public access cable TV show called: "THE GUITAR SHOW" for my good friend, and neighbor, Christian Roebling. Over the years, he probably did shows with 100+ guitarists, some legendary, some less so. When the show no longer aired, he tried to find someone to put them out in DVD format, but those efforts initially failed.
Now, Stefan Grossman is about to release various performances from this series in DVD. Lucky me, my performances of both Larry Young's "Backup" and my own tune, "Dr. Slump" will be part of "JAZZ MASTERS: VOLUME ONE" of the DVD packages. Also featured on this very special DVD will be Pat Martino and Bill Frisell, obviously both great artsits, respected colleagues, and good friends. Stefan recently was kind enough to send me the still photo portrait lifted from the video. Before having seen it on the back of the DVD package, I had never seen this shot. It's nice to be able to share it here for the first time.
- KHAN'S KORNER which is divided into KORNER
1 and KORNER 2 to better
serve all our visitors.
KORNER 1, which
now has 115 hand-written
solo transcriptions, offers classic solos by: Miles Davis, Jim Hall, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Stanley Turrentine, Clare Fischer, Chick Corea, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, Paul Desmond, George Benson, George Coleman, Steve Grossman, John Scofield, Gabor Szabo, Leonardo Amuedo, and Robben Ford, plus corresponding
During the most trying of times, April, 2020 arrives and for some sense of relief and distraction, a great Stanley Turrentine solo on "My Shining Hour" is featured from his 1961 Blue Note album, "DEARLY BELOVED." The performance features: Shirley Scott (organ) and Billy Brooks (drums).
With the September, 2019 release of Steve's new CD, "PATCHWORK," we are in the process of presenting some 7 Steve Khan solos over the coming months from the new album. During the month of September, we posted his solo on his own composition "Naan Issue." in October, the Thelonious Monk-Kenny Clarke classic, "Epistrophy." For November, Joe Henderson's "A Shade of Jade." For December, we will be presenting Steve's solo on Bobby Hutcherson's gorgeous ballad, "Bouquet" performed as a bolero in 3/4. The new year of 2020 will open with Steve's solo over Ornette Coleman's "C. & D.." In February, the 2nd spectacular ballad, this time a standard by Lerner & Lane, "Too Late Now" will be available. And finally, in March, Steve's nylon-string solos during Jorge Estrada's brilliant tune "Huracán Clare" will be offered. Always stay tuned to these pages!!!
To celebrate the BGO Records(UK) reissue of PUBLIC ACCESS-HEADLINE-CROSSINGS remastered, and packaged together on 2 CDs, we are presenting Steve Khan's solo, that originally appeared on CROSSINGS(Verve) in 1994. This 4-chorus solo was performed on Thelonious Monk's classic composition, "Think of One" and receives one of Steve's early Latin-influenced treatments driven by the interactive brilliance of Anthony Jackson(contrabass guitar), Dennis Chambers(drums) and Manolo Badrena(percussion). As Bill Milkowski put it in his liner notes:
"Hearing these records again reminds one of just how radically fresh and experimental they were when they came out 25 years ago. There was no template for this sound back then. The spaciousness and misterioso vibe, the brilliant use of counterpoint between guitar and bass, the bizarro midi percussion floating in and out of the mix, all while still being grounded by an insinuating Latin undercurrent... it was unprecedented for the '90s.....and there is still nothing quite like it!"
2018 opened with another incredible solo from Michael Brecker on the title track from bassist Eddie Gómez' 1988 album, "POWER PLAY." The tune also featured co-composer LeeAnn Ledgerwood(keyboards) and, for the 1st time only on this song, drummers Steve Gadd and Al Foster playing together. Mike's solo begins with thematic units to develop and along that journey, he explores the full range of his saxophone, a remarkable four octaves. This 40 bar solo over a funk-oriented 16th-note groove with two modal m7(9sus) chords is sure to become a favorite with those who visit these pages.
As 2017 continued, we offered Wes Montgomery's wonderful solo on "Stella by Starlight" from the album DANGEROUS which was originally recorded in 1961 with brothers Buddy and Monk Montgomery. Finally, the year closed with the presentation of Steve's own solo on Greg Osby's "Concepticus in C" from Steve's most recent CD, "BACKLOG." Steve is once again supported by the spectacular keyboard work of Rob Mounsey alongside the very funky cha-cha-cha rhythms of Marc Quiñones(timbal & güiro), Bobby Allende(conga) and Rubén Rodríguez(baby bass) alongside the most serious fatback groove of Mark Walker(drums). While negotiating the complex harmonies, Steve's solo is rooted in the blues language. One of the best tunes on the album!
In 1979, keyboardist Neil Larsen recorded the 2nd of his two albums for Horizon Records, HIGH GEAR, and on that album, Michael Brecker contributed two brilliant solos. For September, we feature his solo on the Larsen penned tune, "Nile Crescent." Buzz Feiten(Guitar), a fixture with Larsen, joins Abraham Laboriel(El. Bass); Steve Gadd(Drums); Paulinho Da Costa(Perc.) and Joe Farrell(Flute) on the track. Michael's 22-bar solo over a Phrygian mood embodies all the wonderful qualities in his playing. As it has now been some 10 years since Michael left us, it only seems fitting to pay tribute to him again, and just how glorious his body of work remains. He was so very special. Hoping that everyone enjoys this solo to the fullest.
Then in October, we featured his solo on the Larsen penned tune, "Demonette." Buzz Feiten(Guitar), a fixture with Larsen, joins Abraham Laboriel(El. Bass); Steve Gadd(Drums); and Paulinho Da Costa(Perc.) on the track. Michael's solo here is really more about being right in the center of the flow of the time feel, and swingin' really hard! To these ears, there is not one single note in this solo that ventures outside the harmonies, not one! How rare is that for a Michael Brecker solo? There is hardly any chromaticism within the solo. How rare is that? It proves one thing at the very least, if you play with aggressive and swinging time, you can play anything, and it's going to work - and, more than this, you can play completely inside, and have a monster of a solo! See if you don't feel the same way.
With the February, 2017 release of Steve's CD, "BACKLOG," we have embarked on a journey of presenting some 7 of Steve's solos from the new album. During the month of March, we posted, two weeks apart, his solos on: Thelonious Monk's "Criss Cross" and then, Ornette Coleman's "Latin Genetics." For April, we will be presenting Steve's solo on Bobby Hutcherson's great tune, "Head Start." May offered Steve's solo over the Cahn-Van Heusen tune, "Our Town" which was transformed into a gorgeous Afro-Bolero. June offers the steel-string acoustic guitar feature from the album, and a solo over a 2nd Hutcherson tune from his 1966 "HAPPENINGS" album, "Rojo." July and August will present the final 2 solos by Steve, over Ornette Coleman's "Invisible," and the Mandel-Mercer classic, "Emily." Always stay tuned to these pages!!!
We began 2015 with Michael Brecker's great solo on "Sound Off" from his "TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE"(Verve) CD. This was followed by a wonderful Chick Corea solo from Airto's great album "FREE"(CTI) on the tune, "Creek"(Arroio). As the year progressed, we presented another incredible Michael Brecker solo from an early and never released Steve Khan demo from 1972, "The Hobgoblin Stomp." Then, a Kenny Burrell solo from Ed Thigpen's album "OUT OF THE STORM"(Verve) on the unique arrangement for "Cielito Lindo." And finally, another wonderful and very swingin' Stanley Turrentine solo from his album "NEVER LET ME GO"(Blue Note) on the Gershwin Bros. classic, "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
From June through December of 2014, we presented Steve Khan's solos from "Bait and Switch"; "Hackensack"; "Never Let Me Go"; "Blue Subtext"; "Bird Food"; and finally, closing out the year with, "Cada Gota de Mar."
Dating back to February of 2013, with great pleasure that we are offered Steve Grossman's fantastic solo that appeared on the 1971 Miles Davis album, A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON(Columbia). This 3-minute plus exploration of what one can do over a static Bb7(sus) chord, when accompanied by: Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Michael Henderson and Billy Cobham, gives cause for great thought and study. If you haven't heard this before, pay special attention to it now!!!
Hoping to lift the spirits of those musically inclined, we presented to you Pat Martino's swingin' 2-chorus solo over the Cole Porter standard, "It's All Right With Me," which appears on the 1977 Willis Jackson album, BAR WARS(Muse). Accompanied by organist Charles Earland and drummer Idris Muhammad, this particular solo would have been part of a 2nd Volume for Steve's book, "PAT MARTINO - The Early Years" but alas, it was not to be.
There was a nice chill in the air as October arrived that year, and to keep things warm and cozy, we presented Steve Khan's wonderful 1/2-chorus solo over a Clare Fischer classic composition, "San Francisco, P.M.," which appears on the just released album ¡RITMO!(Clavo) by the Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band led by Clare's beloved and devoted son, bassist/arranger, Brent Fischer. Of course, there's a lovely story that accompanies the transcription, and which is shared in Steve's analysis. There's a good reason why this tune was chosen to open the album, and why Steve's solo is the first one as well! Don't miss this one!!!
KORNER 2 continues to house the lead sheets and arrangements to Steve's originals. During 2014, we presented Steve's two originals from "SUBTEXT" which included: "Bait and Switch"(El Estafador) and "Blue Subtext"(Subtexto en Azul).
Dating back to 2011, we presented Steve's seven new compositions from "PARTING SHOT." During May, our first presentation was, "Change Agent." This was followed by: June, "Los Gaiteros"; July, "María Mulambo"; August, "Influence Peddler"; September "When She's Not Here"; October, "Zancudoville"; And finally, during November, "Just Deserts," a spectacular Latin percussion descarga was the feature. If you missed them then? Don't worry, they're still there, and easy to access.
- As it always is with all the time spent "on the road," there are stories
to tell. And so, here are some of Steve's recent stories Old News: the lovely, the comical, the tragic, and the triumphant.
- A couple of years ago, during a weekend in late December, the one between Christmas and New Year's Eve, a conversation with dear friends, musicians, inspired me to write in my blog at my MySpace page. Soon, not 24 hrs. after it had been posted, I was overwhelmed by the response to what I had written. And so, I decided to post a version of the piece here which benefits from the addition of some photos and additional writing and editing.
Though the piece is titled, "A DESTINATION - NEVER AN ARRIVAL" and is focused on the artistic life, a life in the arts, the central anecdote, that shapes it all, centers around a portion of an interview which took place between Dick Cavett and the Academy Award winning British actor, Sir Laurence Olivier during the early '70s, just after I had moved to New York. It has become a moment that I have used in countless situations: with private students, at clinics, seminars, and master classes, and, in any serious discussion of what it means to live a creative life in the arts. If you have a few moments, I will hope that you will find something of value when reading this ESSAY.
- And speaking of "old" - If you like, you can read Steve's essay titled: "On Turning 60" which was originally written for his blog at the recently launched MySpace 'tribute' page, one which was actually designed, and is now maintained, by Iain Grimwood from "across the pond" in the U.K.! Thanks so much Iain!!!
- For those of
you who might have missed Steve's heartfelt tributes to Ray Charles,
Elvin Jones, Jimmy Smith, Steve Marcus, Jean-Michel Folon, Wilson Pickett, Ray Barretto, from the world of sports, Arnold "Red" Auerbach, James Brown, Michael Brecker, Joe Zawinul, Tim Russert, Gary King, Joe Beck, Isaac Hayes, Freddie Hubbard, my close childhood friend Kim Weiskopf, Jacques Braunstein, Alan Rubin, one of my harmonic heroes, pianist-composer-arranger, Clare Fischer, and then, two close friends, guitarist Hugh McCracken, Phil Ramone, and the great CBS newsman, Bob Simon, one of the two great guitarists with The Chantays, Brian Carman, trumpet giant, Lew Soloff, Yogi Berra, Salsa keyboard/arranger giant, José M. Lugo, and suddenly, Bobby Hutcherson, Toots Thielemans, the pioneering Jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, bassist Bob Cranshaw, legendary photographer, Chuck Stewart, the pioneering guitarist, the "Father of Fusion," Larry Coryell, flautist and Latin legend, Dave Valentín, visionary guitarist, Allan Holdsworth, the superb guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Grady Tate, Felipe Díaz Reyes, chef/traveler/storyteller, Anthony Bourdain, vocal legends Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, pioneer in Japanese/USA artistic relations, George Braun, Dave Samuels, the great Venezuelan artist and innovator, Carlos Cruz-Diez, cartoonist/illustrator/social commentator, Gahan Wilson, drummer Jon Christensen, McCoy Tyner; visionary recording engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug
visionary recording engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug; Olympic great Rafer Johnson; Country music's Charley Pride; Jazz tuba giant Howard Johnson, baseball immortal, Hank Aaron and just recently, Chick Corea,
we have created a special
TRIBUTES page. We hope
that you will enjoy reading about these very special musicians/artists who
recently left us.
- We are now pleased to announce the addition of another new page, created for those of
you who might have missed Steve's tales of: THE LOST TELECASTER CUSTOM; or, the incredible
AIR-CONDITIONER REMOVAL DISASTER; or, the popular but very terrifying HOLIDAY INN FIRE. And so, we have created a special
AMAZING TALES page. We hope
that you will enjoy reading about these "Theater of the Absurd" Events, but all too true!!! Believe me!!!
- And, as if that's not enough, we have given Steve's BRUSHES WITH GREATNESS its very own page too. Read what can happen when just walking around in one's neighborhood on the streets of New York. What a town!
- Para aquellos de ustedes que han estado pidiendo otra ENTREVISTA en Español, aquí está. Aunque originalmente fue hecha en Inglés, ha sido traducida por mi querido amigo, el ingeniero industrial y periodista de Jazz, Felipe Díaz, de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, España. Esperamos que todos disfruten de su lectura.
Originally, this INTERVIEW was done by guitarist Igor Grigoriev, who sadly passed away not too long ago, and way before his time. Hopefully everyone will take a moment to read Steve's honest and insightful answers to some interesting questions.
- With the recent publication of Walter Kolosky's very fine book, Power, Passion & Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra, I have started to receive e-mails about my small contribution. However, as what I wrote was edited and then spread-out over various chapters, I wanted to share with everyone the full text, just as I wrote it. So, now you can read my personal "Mahavishnu Orchestra" reflection. I hope that you will enjoy it.
- As we have now passed the five year anniversary of September 11th, 2001, Steve has taken the time to write his own personal story, which he has titled, "Where I was on 9/11." For most people, and certainly virtually every American, there is a personal recollection of exactly where they were, and just what they doing at the moment when they learned that New York and Washington, D.C. were under terrorist attack. No matter with whom one might be speaking, this always makes for an interesting conversation. We hope that you all will enjoy reading Steve's story of that morning, that day.
- George Cole has written a fantastic new book titled, "THE LAST MILES"(The Music of Miles Davis 1980-1991)[University of Michigan Press]. As a part of this project, George conducted a very honest Interview with Steve regarding his participation in Miles' recording, "AMANDLA" and all the various stories and feelings surrounding that experience. Enjoy the interview, and if you are a Miles Davis fan, the book is a must have!!!
- Please take the
time to read this great INTERVIEW of Steve by Mike Brannon
for allaboutjazz.com! It's a very comprehensive look inside the artist.
- NOW AVAILABLE! "PENTATONIC
KHANCEPTS" The book is now at the warehouse, and in stores
across the country!!! You can order copies directly from Alfred Publishing Co.
by phoning (888) 310-3342 or online via Order Music Today. The
book's 'code'/catalog number remains 0667B. This much anticipated
and innovative book is intended to serve as the linear adjunct to
the very successful "CONTEMPORARY CHORD KHANCEPTS." Steve is
hoping that the two books will work hand-in-hand to provide every
player with exciting and fresh ideas.
- Attenzione! For those of you visiting us from ITALY,
please know that you can read many of the pages from KHAN'S KORNER
at Marco Losavio's fantastic Jazzitalia
website. Thus far, Marco has posted, in Italian, tunes such as: "Got
My Mental"; "Anhelante"; "Descarga Khanalonious"; "Tightrope"; "Dr.
Slump"; "An Eye Over Autumn"; "Uncle Roy"; "Daily Village; "What I'm
Said"; Steve's George Harrison tribute: "Within
You Without You/Blue Jay Way"; "Blue Zone 41"; "Daily Bulls"; "Sierra Madre"; and most recently, "El Viñón." And, if you can read in Italian, here is a great Interview Steve recently did with fellow guitarist Alex Milella. A più tardi!
And for those of you visiting us from JAPAN,
I am so proud to announce that you will now be able to read pages from
KHAN'S KORNER in your own language at Kenny Inaoka's fantastic
website. Kenny has launched these pages at his site by posting in Japanese,
Steve's nylon-string guitar solo from: "Clafouti" which appeared on
"YOU ARE HERE." Ja, mata!
- Check out this
INTERVIEW from the recent past which found Steve in a roundtable discussion with fellow
guitarists Wayne Krantz and David Gilmore as they discuss the bass,
and its role in their music. Written by bassist, Brent-Anthony Johnson
for the April 2002 issue of: GLOBAL
- Now you can view
all of STEVE'S GEAR by visiting our newly posted EQUIPMENT
page! Here Steve details for you the information about his guitars,
strings, picks, amps, speakers, and effects. For those of you who've
been asking for this, we will hope that it answers most, if not all,
of your questions.
- Ever wonder who drew that front page caricature of Steve? NED SHAW, veteran
illustrator who has drawn for major companies, and whose illustrations
have appeared in major magazines for years. Just posted, see Ned Shaw's
latest ONLINE GALLERY.
- A selected DISCOGRAPHY.
When visiting this page, simply click on any of the mini-CD covers
and this will take you to a page where you can read Steve's personal
reflections of each recording.
- A quirky list
of STEVE'S FAVORITES, and perhaps,
dare I say it, even more than you wanted to know regarding his favorite
movies, flower, most annoying insect, best shaving advice from Dad!
And, his favorite news people, least favorite athlete, and his rants against "Info-tainment"! You get the picture.
resolved! Steve does NOT play solo Flamenco guitar in Greenwich
Village, New York City! It is just another guitarist with exactly,
well almost, the same name! Hard to believe, but true.