Steve Kuhn Interview

An hour with the jazz piano great

I spoke with Steve Kuhn in 2004.  The pianist had just released  Promises Kept, which fulfilled Kuhn’s goal of recording a program of original compositions with a string ensemble.  The record was a posthumous tribute to his parents Stella and Carl Kuhn.  Bob Blumenthal, a close observer of Kuhn’s career for several decades, said that “in giving full reign to his emotions, Kuhn has created both his most personal and his most beautiful recording.”

Promises_Kept_(Steve_Kuhn_album)

Kuhn’s 76th birthday is March 24.  He’ll be at Sculler’s in Boston on April 3 with his trio and a guest soloist, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander.  I would anticipate that Steve’s brief but formative experience in the John Coltrane Quartet in 1960 will echo in what he plays with Alexander.

Steve Kuhn; photo by Mike Colyer

Steve Kuhn; photo by Mike Colyer

Our conversation begins with a discussion about Promises Kept and continues with Steve’s recollections of playing as a teenager with Serge Chaloff in Boston; the summer he spent at the School of Jazz in Lenox; and his work with Kenny Dorham, Coltrane, Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Sheila Jordan and the satisfactions and challenges of the jazz life.

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