Steve Khan's finest release is the one he has not recorded but until then Subtext holds the title!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Today the United States Postal Service brought me tidings of great joy which shall be to all people...starting June 24th.
New York is the improvisational mecca for six string protagonists with Steve Khan nestled quietly within the city that never sleeps. The evolution of Steve Khan appeared to have perhaps reached the pinnacle with the critically acclaimed Parting Shot from 2011. Khan is back as that ever elusive harmonic chameleon with yet another magnificent outing, Subtext. The deceptively subtle Latin infusion of flavor welcomes the listener to the land of rhythm and groove as Khan and his musical co-conspirators explore the lyrical landscape of friends both old and new including compositions from Freddie Hubbard, Greg Osby, and Ornette Coleman. The original works here are vibrant grooves of a lyrical life force that few of his contemporaries can match.
The aptly titled Subtext confirms the diversity within the Khan vision as these individual compositions all merge as ornate pieces of a beautiful melodic mosaic. Jazz some assembly required. This is a true collective that includes some notable cameos from the great Gil Goldstein on accordion along with the intoxicating vocals of Uruguayan singer Mariana Ingold holding serve on Cada Gota De Mar. Other notables include old friend Rob Mounsey handling keyboards and orchestrations. The percussive trio of Dennis Chambers, Marc Quinones and Bobby Allende are on point every step of the way with rhythmic flair, finesse and panache! None better! Randy Brecker stops by on the Ornette Coleman tune "Bird Food" and delivers a warmth to this open ended free bop number rarely heard. Perhaps the highlight of Subtext would be the Khan original, "Bait and Switch." Hard core Weather Report aficionados will delight in the Zawinful like colors brought forth while Khan maintains his own unique focus and voice with the calling card groove that moves past grit and into a more melodic manipulation of lyrical intent.
Steve Khan could be considered the "Where's Waldo" of guitarists. Widely known and highly respected, Steve Khan seems to lurk just below the surface of those receiving far more ink in the over saturated media markets of today. Steve Khan is an artist...Brilliance needs no review. You celebrate brilliance and talent always wins out. My personal favorite for Best Jazz Release 2014!
Tracks: Bird Food; Blue Subtext; Baraka Sasa; Infant Eyes; Heard; Never Let Me Go; Cada Gota De Mar; Hackensack; Bait and Switch.
Personnel: Steve Khan: Guitar; Ruben Rodriguez: Electric Bass & Baby Bass; Dennis Chambers: Drums; Marc Quinones: Timbal, Bongo & Percussion; Bobby Allende: Conga & Percussion. (1).
Guests: Randy Brecker: Flugelhorn (1); Rob Mounsey: Keyboards (2,5); Orchestrations (3,4, 6, 7, 9); Coro (7); Gil Goldstein: Accordion (7); Mariana Ingold:Voice (7).
Special thanks to Michael Bloom of Michael Bloom Media Relations.