One of my desert island discs is 2009’s Mostly Coltrane by the Steve Kuhn trio with Joe Lovano. I got it at the end of 2010 and was instantly swept away. (Another ECM gem. I better start watching myself, or this will become an exclusively ECM-centric blog…not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
The album/band provides an compelling mix of in and out Trane-inspired material: “I Want to Talk About You,” “Crescent,” “Central Park West,” “Living Space,” and more. Pianist Steve Kuhn, who briefly performed with Coltrane in 1960, and bassist David Finck ground the ensemble in more accessible territory, while saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Joey Baron, whose playing I’ve since become quite taken with, aim for more exploratory realms. The album features beautiful balladry, aggressive late-Trane attitude, and everything in between – all wrapped up in ECM’s superb production quality.
The below clips come from the group’s performance at JazzBaltica 2008. Included are three tunes that, in my opinion, best represent the ensemble. Everyone gets some solo space, and the musicians cover a lot of musical and emotional ground. The first clip features the meditative “Jimmy’s Mode” and “Spiritual,” the latter of which is one of my favorite two tunes on the album. The second video is of a burning “Impressions.” (How could it not be played? Jazz festival + Coltrane tribute + saxophonist = “Impressions”) The rest of the concert is also available on YouTube if you’re so inclined.
“Jimmy’s Mode” -> “Spiritual”