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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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KARIN KROG AND
STEVE KUHN

Break Of Day

Meantime Records MR22

 

 

  1. I'm Old Fashioned

  2. Break of Day in Molde

  3. The Folks Who Live on the Hill

  4. Scandia Skies

  5. How Do You Keep the Music Playing

  6. The Way You Look Tonight

  7. Love Came on Stealthy Fingers

  8. Thank You For Everything

  9. You Do Something To Me

  10. Little Butterfly (Pannonica)

  11. Did I Remember

  12. Trane

  13. Time's Getting Tougher Than Tough

  14. Everytime We Say Goodbye


Karin Krog - Vocal

Steve Kuhn - Piano

Eric Alexander - Tenor sax (tracks 4, 10, 12)

Lew Soloff - Trumpet (tracks 2, 9, 13)


The Norwegian singer Karin Krog has adorned the international jazz scene for some considerable time. Her first recording was in 1964 and she won the Down Beat poll in the new star category as long ago as 1969. Since those early days she has travelled and performed extensively, dipping her toe into the waters of classical and avant-garde music as well as making a splash (might as well continue the metaphor!) in jazz. One of her closest past musical partners, saxophonist John Surman, makes a brief showing on this latest album, on the Jimmy Witherspoon blues Times Getting Tougher Than Tough (uncredited, except for a reference in Krog's liner notes). It is another veteran, pianist Steve Kuhn, whom Krog has known since performing a club date with him in Stockholm in the late sixties, who shares this recording with her. What a team they make! Soulful saxophonist Eric Alexander and the trumpet virtuoso Lew Soloff join them for three tracks each, to good effect.

The album contains a number of standards from The Great American Songbook plus a selection of specifically jazz compositions music by Carla Bley, Kenny Dorham, Billy Strayhorn, Tadd Dameron, Monk and the aforementioned Witherspoon. In three cases, Karin has provided the lyrics. I particularly liked The Way You Look Tonight, Time's Getting Tougher Than Tough and the pensive Everytime We Say Goodbye. Krog's classy interpretations of almost any song on the album will have some younger singers envying her command of her material. Her style is conversational for the most part but she can still hold a note. Her clear diction and sensitivity to the nuances of the lyric are real strengths, as in the thoughtful, reflective How Do You Keep the Music Playing. Steve Kuhn's playing invites superlatives, combining as he does both feeling and finesse. He provides masterly accompaniment for Krog but also supplies immaculate solo passages. Eric Alexander contributes an eloquent solo on Trane and is suitably relaxed and mellow on Little Butterfly (Pannonica) and Scandia Skies. The latter I thought was among the less successful tracks, though. Lew Soloff, on trumpet, is at his melodic best on Break of Day in Molde and on You Do Something To Me (muted). In addition, he's part of the line-up for the standout Time's Getting Tougher Than Tough.

If I had to classify the album, I guess I'd place it somewhere in the jazz/cabaret field but none the worse for that. Well-chosen material performed by quality musicians will always find an audience.

James Poore



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