Steve Kuhn

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Born in Brooklyn in 1938, Kuhn was fascinated with his father's jazz 78s as a toddler, and began classical piano lessons at age five. He taught himself to improvise on and syncopate Mozart and Bach, and practiced boogie-woogie (he retains that style's formidable independence of hands). Moving to the Boston area with his parents, Kuhn began studying with Madame Margaret Chaloff. Her son Serge, baritone saxophonist of Woody Herman's "Four Brothers," had the 14-year-old pianist accompany him on gigs. Throughout his teens, Kuhn continued to play in Boston's jazz clubs with Coleman Hawkins, Chet Baker and Vic Dickenson, among other famed passers-through.
Kuhn was a music major at Harvard. After graduating, he won a three-week scholarship to the Lenox School of Music, where he worked alongside Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Gary McFarland, David Baker, members of the Modern Jazz Quartet, William Russo, Gunther Schuller, and George Russell. Kuhn then moved to New York and joined Kenny Dorham's band. A year later, John Coltrane hired Kuhn for the piano chair in his first quartet, prior to McCoy Tyner.
Disturbed by changes in the New York jazz scene, Kuhn moved to Stockholm in '67, returning in '71. He has recorded, toured, and concertized steadily ever since. He's dabbled with electric keyboards, led a quartet with saxophonist Steve Slagle, maintained a long-standing duet with vocalist Jordan, taught master classes, and appeared solo -- yet Kuhn's format of choice is the piano trio, established by Ahmad Jamal in the '50s and refined by Bill Evans in the early '60s. But whether alone, in trio (as on more than half of Seasons of Romance), or with sympatico horns, Steve Kuhn is a distinguished and distinctive master jazzman.

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