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Jazz

Steve Khan: Subtext

Subtext
Steve Khan: Subtext
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Veteran guitarist Khan hinted at this Afro-Caribbean direction on his previous outing, 2011’s Parting Shot, as well as some of his past Eyewitness recordings from the 80s. With Dennis Chambers on drums, Ruben Rodriguez on baby bass, Allman Brothers and Spyro Gyra percussionist Marc Quinones, and conguero Bobby Allende, Khan puts a Latin-flavored spin on Ornette Coleman’s “Bird Food” (featuring a guest appearance by Randy Brecker on flugelhorn) and Freddie Hubbard’s boppish “Baraka Sasa,” along with clavefueled readings of Wayne Shorter’s gorgeous “Infant Eyes” and Thelonious Monk’s “Hackensack.” Khan and his allstar crew also turn in a dreamy bolero rendition of the romantic jazz ballad “Never Let Me Go” and a clever cha-chacha re-imagining of Greg Osby’s angular M-Base-ish “Heard.” The guitarist’s appealing, warm-toned, fluid lines sound particularly inspired on his lyrical clavefueled offering “Blue Subtext” and his lively and infectious “Cada Gota De Mar” (featuring Uruguayan singer Mariana Ingold and accordianist Gil Goldstein). And on the exhilarating Weather Reportish finale, “Bait and Switch,” Khan turns super-drummer Chambers loose at the tag to traverse the kit with polyrhythmic aplomb. A winning effort by this underrated guitarist who has consistently put out strong concept albums since the 70s.

By Bill Milkowski

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