Checking out the atmosphere in recent strides, German Jazz pianist and Bandleader Joachim Kuhn brought down the house at the Berlin Jazzfest in 2010.
Here’s what The Guardian had to say about that gig:
The Guardian – John Fordham Live Review
One of Germany‘s relatively few internationally celebrated jazz stars from the 1960s, Joachim Kühn remains an elemental jazz force at a keyboard. He has plenty of opportunities to confirm that, on this 2010 live big-band concert, and his searing extended improvisations are the high points here. The previous year in Rabat, Kuhn had made the award-winning album Out of the Desert with singer and guembri player Majid Bekkas, Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez and a group of local Berber musicians. That success led to this version with Bekkas, Lopez, and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band at last year’s JazzFest Berlin – but Kuhn’s compositions are new, designed to catch the same spirit, but with the orchestra’s special resources. The smaller version was perhaps more sharply focused, since this version’s occasional ponderous passages and some big-band melodic intricacies narrow the earlier cinematic eloquence. But Bekkas and Lopez remain very compelling in their solo features, trumpeter Axel Schlosser evokes Sketches of Spain-era Miles Davis on Fresh Air. Kühn playing with a ruminative Tony Lakatos and then a storming Julian Arguelles may well clinch it for many listeners.
Kühn was a musical prodigy and made his debut as a concert pianist, having studied classical piano and composition with Arthur Schmidt-Elsey. Influenced by his elder brother, clarinetist Rolf Kühn, he simultaneously got interested in jazz. In 1961 he became a professional jazz musician. With a trio of his own, founded in 1964, he presented the first free jazz in the GDR. In 1966 he left the country and settled in Hamburg. Together with his brother he played at the Newport Jazz Festival and recorded with Jimmy Garrison for Bob Thiele’s Impulse! Records.
Kühn has lived in Paris since 1968, and worked with Don Cherry, Karl Berger, Slide Hampton, Phil Woods, Michel Portal, Barre Phillips, Eje Thelin, Ray Lema, Hellmut Hattler, and Jean-Luc Ponty. As a member of Pierre Courbois‘s Association P.C., he turned to electronic keyboards. During the second half of the 1970s he lived in California and joined the West Coast fusion scene and recorded with Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham, Michael Brecker, and Eddie Gómez.
Having settled near Paris again, he played in an acoustic trio with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair since 1985. In the summer of 1996, he joined Ornette Coleman for two concerts at the Verona and Leipzig festivals, which opened the way for his Diminished Augmented System. More recently he has toured with Rabih Abou-Khalil and Joachim Kühn Trio with Christian Lillinger and Johannes Fink.
That’s Joachim Kuhn, in a nutshell. He’s had a very active career, not only as leader of his own Trio and Big Band, but as a sideman working on a wide range of sessions.
Spend Sunday checking this concert out. Turn it up and relax.