Thursday, May 17, 2012

Back in Time with Steve Kuhn: "Remembering Tomorrow" (ECM 1995)

Remembering TomorrowWith the recent release of "Wisteria" by Steve Kuhn, with Joey Baron on drums and Steve Swallow on bass, Kuhn received some of the most outstanding reviews of his long and distinguished career. In listening to this recording, and agreeing with the reviewers, it reminded me to go back in time to another trio recording by Kuhn on ECM that I enjoy listening to, "Remembering Tomorrow" (ECM 1995), also with Joey Baron but with David Finck on bass. This recording came out in 1995 and in many respects follows a more traditional ECM model for a piano trio than "Wisteria" -- more somber, lots of space in each song, moderate tempos, and a generally subdued but lush atmosphere throughout.

I happen to find the disc to be a wonderfully calming, pastoral listen, and do not agree with those who have characterized it as sleepy, boring, or monotonous. While it is mainly a set of ballads and tone poems, there are some more upbeat songs that capture a swing tempo. "Oceans in the Sky" for one has a lilting melody, a soft swinging rhythm and features a true collaboration of the three partners. Baron provides a great range of colors with his use of the cymbals, brushes, and subtle drumming, backed by a number of lovely arco bass passages sprinkled throughout. Some of the songs require patience as they build from slow and gentle to a more pressing tempo, but the range of tempos and volume is there creating variety and interest.

While the playing emphasizes sound paintings and textures, each song is a jewel of simplicity that extracts from simple melodies and spare arrangements creative interplay and subtly beautiful and distinctive creations. This is an intrspective disc full of romance and mystery, more laid back than "Wisteria", but no less wonderful to listen to and savor. 

No comments:

Post a Comment