....and this just in to the Newsroom:
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!!!
Steve Khan 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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!!!
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.
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.
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
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!!!
"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.
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
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
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)
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!!!
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.
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.
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!!!"
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.
During this discourse, he sentimentally touches 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.
No matter what the number is for any particular birthday, there is probably always good cause for some moments of great reflection. One can always ask the 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.
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!!!
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.
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!!!"
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
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!
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!!!
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!
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 mp3s.
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.
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.
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.
Blaine & Youngsuk Fallis; Rob Mounsey; Suzy Cline; Michael Brecker;
Jean-Michel Folon; Paola Ghiringhelli; Ned Shaw; Christine Martin; Iain Grimwood; Ron
Aston; Bob Kiernan(Digital Chainsaw); Peter Erskine; Larry Weissman; Gloria & Mike
Franks; Laurie Cahn; Rachel Leifer; Phil Gruber(Inkwell, Inc.); Katerina
Tsioris; Lawrence Ross; Andrew Campbell; Richard Cann; Tim Boehlert; Al Irizarry;
Jeremy Hooper; Marco Losavio(JazzItalia); Kenny Inaoka(JazzTokyo); Richard
Laird; Martin Cohen; Ed Zajac; Jim Moran; Altair Castro; Sabina & Seth Ornstein; Bernie Minoso;
L. John Harris; Priscilla Marrero; Robin Gould; Felipe
Díaz; and, Rafael y Pimpi Greco.
Blaine & Youngsuk Fallis; Rob Mounsey; Suzy Cline; Michael Brecker; Jean-Michel Folon; Paola Ghiringhelli; Ned Shaw; Christine Martin; Iain Grimwood; Ron Aston; Bob Kiernan(Digital Chainsaw); Peter Erskine; Larry Weissman; Gloria & Mike Franks; Laurie Cahn; Rachel Leifer; Phil Gruber(Inkwell, Inc.); Katerina Tsioris; Lawrence Ross; Andrew Campbell; Richard Cann; Tim Boehlert; Al Irizarry; Jeremy Hooper; Marco Losavio(JazzItalia); Kenny Inaoka(JazzTokyo); Richard Laird; Martin Cohen; Ed Zajac; Jim Moran; Altair Castro; Sabina & Seth Ornstein; Bernie Minoso; L. John Harris; Priscilla Marrero; Robin Gould; Felipe Díaz; and, Rafael y Pimpi Greco.