Steve Kuhn (p), Steve Swallow (b), Pete LaRoca (d)
Reference: FSRCD 1617
Bar code: 8427328616171
"Hearing the Steve Kuhn Trio at his best -as it is on this record- one is made aware of the intricacy, the passion and the great beauty of jazz improvisation."
"Predictable is not an adjective associated with the recordings of pianist Steve Kuhn. He is joined by bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete LaRoca for this exciting studio session from the mid-1960s, both of whom he had worked with under Art Farmer, as well as on LaRoca's smashing debut as a leader, Basra. With the exception of "Ida Lupino" and "Never Let Me Go," the music will likely be unfamiliar to most jazz fans, but adventurous souls are in for a treat. Kuhn's originals include the furious modal work "Bits and Pieces," which sounds as if it represents the center of a storm, as well as "Today I Am a Man," which suggests a well-known composition from the heyday of the bop era. "Why Did I Choose You" is played with a soft bossa nova accent, while Sergio Mihanovich's "Three Waves" is intense, with overlapping changes of rhythm. "Never Let Me Go," a favorite of singers, is understated and subtle, only hinting briefly at the melody. Originally issued on LP by the long-defunct Contact label, and briefly available as a Flying Dutchman reissue."
Ken Dryden -All Music Guide
"Don't be fooled by the relative calm of Ida Lupino", which opens the set and could make you think here's a distant relative of the Bleys. In fact, it's a fierce and intense event for most of its length. Steve Swallow and Pete LaRoca partner Kuhn, offering some serious interaction with the pianist. Critical mass tends to be achieved on Kuhn's originals, though perhaps the brief reworking of the standard Never Let Me Go" best lets you see the intellectual density that underpins the action. Made in 1966, this is a real chance for comparison with Kuhn's more easily available later work. At only a little over the half-hour, it was brief even by the (LP) standards of the time, but value doesn't always -if ever - reside in length. One they made earlier, Pete LaRoca's 1965 Basra, adding Joe Henderson for Blue Note, was briefly around on CD in 1995. If you can find it, it will tell you more about this fine group: if you already have it, you need this."
-Jack Cooke (January 2004)