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Cover Up! by George Kahn

From the very start - Brian Bromberg's hard-driving bass opening to Cream's familiar "Sunshine of Your Love" - this band will be right there in your room. It's not just because of the recording quality - which is outstanding. Pianist George Kahn, drummer/percussionist Alex Acuña, and bassist Brian Bromberg are strong players. Strong, not loud. They play with confidence and energy.

It's jazz. Why Cream? Why not? Kahn's goal is " to create music that is classic, contemporary, hip and cool, all at once." He has been doing just that in his recordings since founding his independent label, Playing Records, in 1999. For his sixth CD, Cover Up!, he has created jazz versions of music he grew up with, including Cream, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wes Mongomery, and Blue Mitchell.

Kahn's classical training (he majored in Music Composition at Brandeis) and the natural flow of his playing are exhibited in his approach to the Beatles' songs. The trio explores all the nuances of "Eleanor Rigby." On "Yesterday/Yesterdays" Kahn creates a beautiful interlude between the Beatles and up-tempo Kern. This quickly leads to solo exchanges between Bromberg and Kahn which will leave you wondering which song is which. Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is played majestically. That composition and Kahn's gospel version of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change " demonstrate his sensitivity to lyrics.

Two originals represent the constantly evolving Miles Davis. "Wes' Coast " introduces the exciting guitar playing of Pat Kelley as Wes Montgomery meets Miles in the early sixties. John Fumo IS Miles. The electric and funky "Cover Up" is a more contemporary take featuring Kelley again with Justo Almario on tenor. Mitchell's Blues" provides solo room for all, while in another original, "Mr. K.V.," with its innovative bass/piano intro, Bromberg salutes bassist Karl Vincent. "My Favorite Things" goes Afro-Cuban with Acuña on percussion and Almario in a masterful solo that is all his own. On Bill Withers' "Use Me," vocalist Courtney Lemmon projects raw emotion. What a voice! Let's hear more.

Cover Up! is West Coast jazz for today, This reviewer is from an earlier generation than George Kahn so can attest that it will speak to you regardless of what music you grew up on.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: George Kahn
  • CD Title: Cover Up!
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Playing Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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