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June 1 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

American reviewers are thrilled by Steve Kuhn's Wisteria

Pianist Steve Kuhn and bassist Steve Swallow first played the title track of the new ECM album Wisteria together back in the early 60’s. At the time both were members of Art Farmer’s band, who wrote the tune. The two have played together a number of times in the intervening decades, and have a warm rapport. The third member of the Wisteria trio is drummer Joey Baron, who appeared on Kuhn’s 2009 Mostly Coltrane project. Wisteria represents the first recording of this trio, and it is a great example of the three musicians playing at the top of their form. […] For a trio so well-versed in the downtown avant-garde scene for so long, these three musicians have pulled off a unique feat. Wisteria is both accessible and challenging, yet maintains a uniformity of excellence. It is an album that should speak to a wide variety of jazz fans.
Greg Barbrick, Blindedbysound.com

Pianist Steve Kuhn’s association with bassist Steve Swallow, with whom he reunites on Wisteria, goes back to the mid-‘60s. That’s when they played together in Art Farmer’s band and then in Kuhn’s trio. And as long as we’re talking history, can we point out that with the exception of Ahmad Jamal, no living jazz pianist of note has thrived in the trio format longer or with greater distinction than Kuhn? […] The recording marks the first time this trio has played together, and hopefully it won’t be the last.
Lloyd Sachs, Jazz Times


John Abercrombie's Within A Song appeals to critics both in England and Switzerland

The guitarist’s precision, warm sound and ability to match tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano’s free-floating invention reveal music of greater substance, with drummer Joey Baron’s restrained subtleties and the unobtrusive, firm-fingered bassist Drew Gress spurring and supporting each twist of Lovano’s gruff, wispy and perfectly placed lines.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

Auf “Within A Song”, seiner jüngsten Einspielung für das Münchner Label ECM, mitgeschnitten in den New Yorker Avatar-Studios, kehrt Abercrombie zurück in die Zeit, die ihn als Jüngling musikalisch geprägt hat: in die Jahre um 1960. […] Mit von der Partie sind auf dieser Quartett-Aufnahme Joe Lovano, ein Rubens des Saxofons, der feinfühlige Schlagzeug-Poet Joey Baron und der empathische Bassist Drew Gress. Ein reifes, rundes Album voller Überraschungen – und keineswegs nur etwas für nostalgische Kenner.
Manfred Papst, NZZ am Sonntag


American magazine Jazz Times on Year of the Snake by jazz trio Fly

Tenor saxophone with bass and drums is a jazz format with a wild and woolly tradition. For tenor virtuosos like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, trios have been opportunities to risk everything, to dance on a tightrope with no net. The tenor trio that calls itself Fly breaks with this tradition explicitly. Fly plays cerebral, rapt, interactive chamber jazz, deriving a wide range of textures and colors from three instruments. […] The music of Fly is sophisticated and sincere and enormously competent. …
Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times