Steve Kuhn: Remembering Tomorrow (ECM 1573)

Steve Kuhn
Remembering Tomorrow

Steve Kuhn piano
David Finck double-bass
Joey Baron drums
Recorded March 1995 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Fans of Steve Kuhn are sure to recognize many of the tunes on Remembering Tomorrow, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this intimate date with bassist David Finck and drummer Joey Baron is a mere retread of the past, for in the present trio setting the music shines afresh, fertile as fields after summer rain. And despite what the somber cover photograph would have you believe, the results are dynamic, intense, and uplifting. Sure, we get the lustrous, dreamy wash of “The Rain Forest” and “Lullaby,” kisses on the forehead to sooth our agitation. And there is the rather sober version of “Trance,” morphed from its optimistic progressions into Baron’s splashes through murky waters. Another tender reconsideration: “Life’s Backward Glance,” which blossoms with the full crystalline breadth of the assembled forces. But then there are groovier excursions like “Oceans In The Sky” and “All The Rest Is The Same.” Baron, in his second ECM appearance, tickles these and more with astute wit. Finck, for his part, remains happy to spin the fuselage to which Kuhn attaches his wings. The title track does indeed throb with the power of recollection, casting nets into a complicated past and pulling from them one spiritual thread that sings. Kuhn’s exchanges with Finck in “The Feeling Within” are the hallmark of this set’s most touching moments, while “Bittersweet Passages” finds the pianist uniting with Baron in a delicate crucible. The product is an eye of “Silver” that closes under the sands of sleep.

Kuhn’s magic is his touch, his feeling for stories warm as breath. He inhales with the lungpower of a choir, exhales with the veiled subtlety of an orchestra hanging on a pianissimo chord. Let these dandelion seeds fly and follow wherever they lead.

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