Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow, Joey Baron – Wisteria (2012) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow, Joey Baron – Wisteria (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 67:35 minutes | 1,2 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Artwork: Digital booklet | © ECM

2012 release from the Jazz pianist joined by bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joey Baron. Wisteria takes a fresh look at several pieces last heard on record in Kuhn’s orchestral Promises Kept collection – “Promises Kept” itself, “Adagio”, “Morning Dew” and “Pastorale”. Kuhn’s compositions, few in number but robust and adaptable, have often lent themselves to quite different interpretations. If anything, these small group versions emphasize the emotional core of the material. Counterbalancing the yearning balladry, the album also includes driving, exciting hard bop (on “A Likely Story”, for instance, and Swallow’s “Good Lookin’ Rookie), Carla Bley’s gospel-tinged “Permanent Wave”, and the Brazilian “Romance” by Dori Caymmi… It’s a varied program which the trio seems to sail through effortlessly, musicians secure in their craft, beyond the need to prove anything, creating the agreeable illusion that this demanding music is playing itself.

Steve Kuhn has excelled in many settings in a career spanning over five decades, but he is at his best leading a trio. Like many top pianists, Kuhn interacts with his musicians rather than relegating them exclusively to the role of accompanists. By the time of this 2011 record date, he had worked with bassist Steve Swallow at various times for over a half-century and with drummer Joey Baron for over 20 years, but this marked their first recording together as a trio. Swallow’s sublime lyrical bass is always a welcome addition, while Baron has contributed to recordings by a diverse range of stylists. Kuhn contributed many of the songs, highlighted by his lyrical samba “Adagio” and the glistening, light-hearted “Morning Dew.” He also revisits several of his best compositions recorded for previous projects: the lush ballad “Romance,” the whispered “Pastorale” with Swallow playing lead in the introduction as Kuhn plays soft chords behind him and Baron’s light touch on brushes providing the perfect accent, along with the mellow yet hip “Promises Kept.” Swallow’s compositions are frequently used by leaders with whom he works. His “Dark Glasses” opens with a mysterious air but shifts quickly into a bright bossa nova. One can only imagine the inspiration for the title to “Good Lookin’ Rookie,” and this breezy number doesn’t disappoint, with Kuhn’s driving piano and Swallow’s intricate bass solo, along with Baron’s drum breaks. Highly recommended!

01 – Chalet
02 – Adagio
03 – Morning Dew
04 – Romance
05 – Permanent Wave
06 – A Likely Story
07 – Pastorale
08 – Wisteria
09 – Dark Glasses
10 – Promises Kept
11 – Good Lookin’ Rookie

Produced by Manfred Eicher. Engineered by James A. Farber.
Recorded in September 2011 at Avatar Studios, New York.

Steve Kuhn – piano
Steve Swallow – bass
Joey Baron – drums