On his new CD, Quireme Mucho, the follow-up to his 2003 Sunnyside release Love Walked In, Kuhn – along with drummer Al Foster and bassist David Finck -- changes the sonic and syncopated citizenship of six classic Latin American compositions by Ernesto Lecuona, Miguel Prado, Osvaldo Farres, Gonzalo Roig, and Consuelo Velazques, into swinging, modern jazz. As everyone knows, Latin rhythms have always been involved in jazz, ever since Jelly Roll Morton talked about the importance of the “Spanish Tinge” in the early Twentieth Century. Kuhn’s propulsive, yet poetic pianisms, buoyed by Foster’s thick and elastic drum licks and Finck’s rocksteady basslines (with the exception of the pretty bolero take on Roig’s title selection) extend, elaborate, and refine the south-of-the-border signatures of these splendid songs, not with tired, “Latin jazz” phrases, but with inspired neo-bop intelligence. Lecuona’s “Andalucia,” and “Siempre En Mi Corazon,” dance with an uptempo, Art Blakey/Jazz Messenger bounce. Prado’s “Duerme,” Farres’s “Tres Palabras,” and Velazques’s much loved “Besame Mucho” are also treated with rhythmically riveting and melodically romantic readings.
Reviews"Pianist Steve Kuhn has never been the type to stand still by sticking to one approach to his instrument, but has sought to explore many different possibilities during his recording sessions. These..are worhty examples of his extensive discography. Featuring the pianist with bassist David Finck and Drummer Al Foster ¦ they explore melodies from Spanish-speaking lands, including composers from Spain, Cuba, and Mexico...The Normally slow, sad ballad 'Besame Mucho' is reborn as a brisk, breezy flight for the trio's improvisations, in which Kuhn incorporates a series of humorous but logical quotes, including The Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby'. The loping rhythm of Kuhn's setting of the title track is the closest thing to a Latin approach on the date, with Foster's steady percussion and Finck's spacious bass line backing the leader's romantic playing." - Ken Dryden, All About Jazz