steve kuhn

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bio en español

Brooklyn born Steve Kuhn was fascinated with jazz very early in his life. He began classical piano lessons at age five and soon began to “improvise and syncopate the classical repertoire.”

In his early teens, Kuhn studied with legendary teacher Margaret Chaloff who schooled him in the “Russian Technique”, an invaluable tool for tone production and projection. Chaloff’s son, Serge, baritone saxophonist for Woody Herman, hired the 13 year-old pianist to play in his group. Throughout his teens Kuhn continued to play in Boston jazz clubs with visiting celebrities such as Coleman Hawkins, Chet Baker and Vic Dickenson.

After graduation from Harvard College, Kuhn attended the Lenox School of Music where he met and played in a group with fellow-students Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. The faculty included Bill Evans, George Russell, and Gunther Schuller. While at Lenox, Kuhn met trumpeter Kenny Dorham and began a two-year stint, interrupted when Kuhn was asked to join John Coltrane’s newly-formed quartet.

Kuhn next joined Stan Getz’s band, which included bassist Scott LaFaro. After a year with Art Farmer, he formed the first Steve Kuhn Trio, with drummer Pete LaRoca and bassist Steve Swallow. At the end of the 1960’s he spent four years living in Europe, where his performances had a significant impact upon local players. Upon returning to the United States, Kuhn began his long-term affiliation with ECM, resulting in a string of important albums including Trance, Ecstasy, Non-Fiction and the collaborations with Sheila Jordan; Playground and Last Year’s Waltz.

In the mid-80’s, Kuhn co-founded the popular ‘All Star Trio’, with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster, and launched a new, and still evolving, edition of his trio with bassist David Finck. Drummers for the latter have included Joey Baron (as on the ECM recording Remembering Tomorrow), Lewis Nash, Billy Drummond, Kenny Washington and Bill Stewart. In the 90’s up to the present time, he has recorded many CDs for Venus, Reservoir and Sunnyside. In 2004, Kuhn recorded Promises Kept, which includes a string orchestra, for ECM Records, of which he is most proud.

Kuhn continues to tour widely throughout the world, with a strong following in Europe and especially Japan where his CDs frequently appear on the jazz charts.

1963 – The Country and Western Sound of Jazz Pianos with Toshiko Akiyoshi (Dauntless)
1966 – Three Waves (Contact)
1966 – The October Suite with Gary McFarland (Impulse!)
1968 – Watch What Happens (MPS), also published as Steve Kuhn in Europe (Prestige)
1969 – Childhood Is Forever (Charly/BYG)
1972 – Chicken Feathers (with Monica Zetterlund)
1972 – Raindrops (Steve Kuhn Live in New York)
1972 – Steve Kuhn
1974 – Ecstasy (ECM)
1974 – Trance (ECM)
1977 – Motility (ECM)
1978 – Non-Fiction (ECM)
1979 – Playground (ECM) with Sheila Jordan
1981 – Last Year’s Waltz (ECM)
1984 – Mostly Ballads (New World Records) with Harvie Swartz
1986 – The Vanguard Time (Owl Time Line)
1986 – Life’s Magic (Black Hawk)
1988 – Porgy (Jazz City)
1988 – Porgy (Evidence) with Eddie Gomez, Buster Williams y Al Foster
1989 – Oceans In The Sky (Owl)
1990 – Looking Back (Concord)
1990 – Live At Maybeck Recital Hall. Volume 13 (Concord)
1992 – Years Later (Withcord) with David Finck and Lewis Nash
1995 – Remembering Tomorrow (ECM) with David Finck and Joey Baron
1995 – Seasons Of Romance (Postcards) with Tom Harrell, Bob Mintzer, George Mraz, Al Foster
1998 – Dedication (Reservoir) with David Finck and Billy Drummond
1998 – Love Walked In (Venus) with Buster Williams and Bill Stewart
1999 – Countdown (Reservoir)
2000 – The Best Things (Reservoir)
2007 – Live at Birdland (EMI/Blue Note) with Ron Carter and Al Foster
2009 – Mostly Coltrane (ECM) with David Finck, Joey Baron, and Joe Lovano
2012 – Wisteria (ECM), with Steve Swallow and Joey Baron