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Steve Kuhn: At This Time

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Steve Kuhn’s At This Time… is defined by a kind of heartbeat-groove propulsion: Steve Swallow’s clean, pick-pushed electric bass figures nestle against Joey Baron’s free-tinted but supportive drums, as the leader’s articulate piano lines sound the melodies and his unpredictably placed chords fill the spaces between and around his partners. The disc came about organically, as these nine tracks were recorded on the heels of the trio’s three-night engagement last year at Birdland. The players have achieved a comfortable, lived-in sound, an appealing setting for standards, less-familiar gems and Kuhn originals.

Kuhn contributes two pieces, placed consecutively about midway through the album, both previously sung by his frequent duo partner, Sheila Jordan. The samba-tinged “All the Rest Is the Same” opens up for an extended, loping solo turn by Swallow, and Baron’s bracing trap-kit build up, while the pianist goes it alone on “The Feeling Within,” a lush ballad.

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