Saturday, November 9, 2019

Steve Khan - 1991 "Let's Call This"

After the release in '90 of "PUBLIC ACCESS"(GRP), it seemed like there just wasn't enough live work for the quartet, Eyewitness. So, I decided to try working in a trio format with acoustic bass and drums. After some months of work, I went in one afternoon and recorded a quick 8-10 tune 'demo' in about three hours with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Joel Rosenblatt, probably my favorite rhythm section.

Steve Khan, Al Foster, Ron CarterWhen Polydor K.K.(Japan) heard tapes of the trio, they wanted to record the music, but, they insisted that I use more well-known players. These are often times things one cannot argue about! So, I decided to call upon two old and dear friends, Ron Carter & Al Foster. "LET'S CALL THIS" was recorded in '91, and the tunes are essentially all drawn from music I used to listen to and study while attending U.C.L.A. during the mid-'60s.

If you were to go back and investigate the original versions of these tunes by Monk, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Larry Young, and Freddie Hubbard, you'd quickly hear just what I was into then. This CD begins a period of paying tribute to those years, those recordings, and those composers. "LET'S CALL THIS" was released in the USA on Bluemoon Records, and it is an especially beautiful recording by engineer Malcolm Pollack.

It features the incredible sound of Al Foster's Paiste sizzle flat-ride cymbal. Truly a key element for me, as it makes the music float and creates a sonic environment that is wonderful for a guitar trio. Believe it or not, THAT cymbal gives the music an orchestral feeling, and it's one of my favorite things about working with Al.

The CD was recorded as the Gulf War with Iraq commenced, and it was a pretty solemn time. When such things happen, they are impossible to ignore and, as global citizens, it's hard not to envision that such a chain of events could actually lead to World War III. Looking back, I sometimes feel that the grave nature of those days led to tempos which were considerably slower than where we had rehearsed the tunes, or where they had been when performed live. It only shows that, at times, it's impossible to block-out what's going on around you.
Best-known for his fusion recordings, Steve Khan (ten years after recording the purely acoustic solo date Evidence) stretches out on this pure jazz date. Accompanied by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster, Khan explores a variety of superior jazz standards (including songs by Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Larry Young, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan) along with his own "Buddy System." This is one of Steve Khan's finest recordings to date and is highly recommended to those listeners not familiar with this side of his musical personality.

Fresh off his monumental work on Steely Dan's Gaucho, Steve went into the studio and cut these fabulous tracks. The three-piece really works, and Ron Carter on bass is exceptional. But it's Khan that really shines -- his creative guitar interpretation of Monk's original angular piano sound makes for heavenly listening, awash with texture, color, and personality. Highly recommended.

Off on a trip to L.A. to spend a week in a hotel, I grabbed this CD and a few others to pass some time. We listened to this one most of the way from San Francisco to L.A. I meant to put something else on, but just couldn't bring myself to take this out of the player. The tune selection is great, the players are all playing their butts off, and that's saying a lot. These guys can really play. Khan is one of my favorite guitarists. He sounds to me what Metheny might be like if he played strictly straight ahead jazz. That's a foolish thing to say, Metheny being my guitar idol and all, but I don't know how else to describe it. This CD is a revelation. The band's sense of rhythm is dead on. You might want to pick this one up.

This in my opinion Steve's Khan best release along with Ron Carter's Bass playing makes me listen to this CD from begining to end.

 Track Listing:

  1. Let's Call This (Thelonious Monk)(7:01)
  2. Masqualero (Wayne Shorter)(6:03)
  3. Backup (Larry Young)(6:27)
  4. Out Of This World (Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer)(7:04)
  5. Played Twice (Thelonious Monk)(6:05)
  6. Little Sunflower (Freddie Hubbard)(8:11)
  7. Buddy System (Steve Khan)(5:05)
  8. Street Of Dreams (Victor Young)(7:47)
  9. Mr. Kenyatta (Lee Morgan)(7:50)


 Guitar, Producer – Steve Khan
 Double Bass [Acoustic Bass] – Ron Carter
 Drums – Al Foster


  1. thx for this share, sounds interesting! Somehow I am unable to find a link. But thank you anyhow for this nice blog, your sharing of interesting music is appreciated very much! Saludos de Montevideo, Cecilia

  2. he takes his time posting the link....

  3. Thank you so much, time and time again, for your generosity sharing such carefully chosen items, complete with helpful background information. Very delicate and tasteful presentation. On a personal note, I thank you for going out of your way concerning the access limitation that appeared with zippyshare. Best wishes. Miguel, from Bilbao.


  5. Vous ĂȘtes un fin connaisseur et un chic type!
    Merci pour la suite de découvertes!

  6. Wow - this is great! The guitar sound is similar to Metheny, but the phrasing is of course much different. Excellent share. Thank you!