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Steve Kuhn: Remembering Tomorrow

At 75, a jazz piano giant reflects

Steve Kuhn, Joey Baron and Steve Swallow (l. to r.), 2011
Steve Kuhn in high school, 1955
Steve Kuhn with Bill Evans, 1971
Steve Kuhn with Art Farmer, Steve Swallow and Pete la Roca, 1964

After Hurricane Sandy hit New York, the jazz clubs south of 34th Street were shut down for days. The power returned in time for the weekend, but pianist Steve Kuhn had already lost two nights of a four-night run at Jazz Standard. “Do you all have cabin fever?” he asked the crowd when he finally appeared on Saturday, backed by bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Drummond.

The trio led off swinging with “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” a song about our shared humanity (“Flowers in spring/The robins that sing/The sunbeams that shine/They’re yours and they’re mine”). To conclude, Kuhn chose one of his grandest, most distinctive compositions, “Oceans in the Sky”-not a bad way to describe a hurricane, when you think about it.

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