Connecting With Steve
Bruce Von Stiers
Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea were just but a few jazz greats who influenced pianist Steve Hunt. Having studied at the Berklee School of Music, Steve played and recorded with some of the top jazz artists in the Boston area. He toured with Stanley Clarke and made the international scene in countries such as France and Japan. Steve was also the musical director for the Jazz Explosion which saw performances with Freddy Hubbard and Ramsey Lewis. He has his own music studio, The Kitchen, and is an instructor at Berklee.
Steve’s latest work is an album titled Connections. The theme of the album is about the connection we all share with the universe. And the musical collaboration with long-time friends and colleagues.
Connections has nine songs and a play time of seventy-six minutes. Steve composed all of the songs on the album.
As I mentioned, this album is a musical collaboration. There are a whole bunch of artists who played on the album. Their individual credits are far too extensive to list here. So I will just tell you who they are and what they played on the album. On bass there was Etienne Mbappe, Jimmy Earl, Evan Marien, Jimmy Johnson, Skuli Sverrisson, and Matt Garrison. John Patitucci played both the acoustic and electric bass. Jimmy Haslip also played bass. The drummers for the album were Nate Wood, Chad Wackerman, Vinnie Colaiuta, Virgil Donati, Gary Husband, Billy Cobham, Tom Brechtlein and Casey Scheuerell. Percussion was handled by Jorge Bezerra, Jerry Leake and Ricardo Monzon. Tenor sax was played by Tucker Antell, while the alto sax was played by Eric Marienthal. The soprano sax was played by Ole Matheisen. Dennis Yerry played the Native American Flute and assisted on vocals. Robert Ritchiesse played the Izraj and the Grand Guitar. Billy Buss played the trumpet and Bruce Williamson played the bass clarinet. Randy Roos played the guitar as did Jeff Lockhart. There were some vocals on the album. Those were done by Jorge Bezerra, Joshua Hunt, Sophia Wackerman and Nando Lauria. Steve played the keys on all of the songs on the album.
Now’s The Time is the first song. It begins with a slick sound that made me think of a melding of Caribbean and African beats. It has some cool keys and drum with slick sax and some interesting spoken vocals near the end.
The second song begins with a Native American chant. It is a cool, modern jazz sounding piece called Prayer For A new Day (Cherokee Morning Song).
A mellow, contemporary jazz tone can be heard in Memories of Sherwood.
First Creation is a slick groove piece. It is listed as being dedicated to Victor Baily. He was the bassist for Weather Report and a solo artist who died in 2016.
Carry On is a milder piece with nice drums, bass and keys with a bit of harmonizing vocals. The song was dedicated to Allan Holdsworth, the British jazz fusion and progressive rock composer who died in 2017.
Quantum Entanglement might seem like it would be a fast and furious piece. But it is actually a mellow song with fluid, harmonizing vocals and some nice sax and keys.
Le Zonage Trios begins with a drum solo and then moves into sort of a fusion styling.
Full Plate has some very cool sax and keys.
The song closing the album is also the title track, Connections. It is mellow piece with a lot of different sounds melded together. It made me think of a group of musicians coming together, one artist starting out, then others chiming in, accompanying the sound they hear.
There is one thing that I didn’t mention earlier. Each of the artists on the album recorded their parts at their own home studios. A few additional parts were recorded at specific studios. No one shared recording space. The album was mixed by Steve at his recording studio and ten mastered by Randy Roos.
Connections is definitely an interesting album. It has some cool fusion and modern jazz styling. Steve Hunt is a really good keyboardist and composer. And his selection of artists to play on the album was great.
You will find information about the album and Steve Hunt on his web site at www.stevehuntjazzpiano.com