When I was first asked to interview Steffen Kuehn, I was a bit hesitant. Fact was I had never heard of him and feared he would probably be one of those artists with a CD from which only one or two songs would be notable. However, my Editor assured me that the CD was good and I would enjoy it. Reluctantly I accepted the assignment and awaited the arrival of the CD.
It was similar to the old adage; which would come first, the chicken or the egg or, in this case, which would come first, the CD or an e-mail from Steffen? For the sake of this story, we’ll say it was the e-mail and I informed Steffen that I would set up an interview with him as soon as I had listened to his CD.
The CD is entitled ‘Trumpop’ and this catchy name was, for me, a good sign. So far so good; and then I played the CD. My Editor was right!! This guy could not only play but also brought a lot to the table. Trumpop displays elements of traditional, Latin and smooth jazz. It even has an impressive interpretation of Chaka Kahn’s ‘Through the Fire’ which features Kenny Washington. More importantly, my initial reaction was definitely wrong. The entire CD is a sure fire hit and well worth listening to.
Now the big question was, "who is Steffen Kuehn?"
Steffen explained to me that he grew up in Germany where, as well as listening to jazz and rhythm & blues, he also played music from an early age. Some of his inspirations of the time (and favorites to this day) were Earth, Wind & Fire, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and Clifford Brown.
I wondered how this talented musician had found his way to the USA. Steffen told me that he got a chance to attend the University of Texas where he honed his musical skills and became more interested in Latin music. Upon graduating from UT he moved to the Bay area where, in addition to becoming a well respected player, he also began writing and producing.
I contemplated what, for Steffen Kuehn, would be next. He confirmed that he is currently working on a follow-up to ‘Trumpop’ which is scheduled for release sometime next year. Future plans include touring in Europe during 2011 and remaining heavily involved in the Bay area music scene.
For more on Steffen Kuehn go to: www.steffenkuehn.com