Lemon Wire reviews Steve Hunt’s “Connections”

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Steve Hunt’s “Connections” shines with stellar soundscapes

Steve Hunt’s lengthy career has been characterized by greatness. The pianist was featured in the Japanese edition of Keyboard Magazine in both 1991 and 1993 while touring with Allan Holdsworth. In early 2021, Hunt released “Connections,” a thoughtful collection of songs that displays Hunt’s ability to perform as a leader. The instruments (where applicable, the vocals, too) work together to form a seamless soundscape that engages audiences.

About Steve Hunt

In addition to being an internationally renown musician, Hunt is also an esteemed cook and educator. Related to both of those facts, Hunt owns a studio called The Kitchen, and teaches at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The Kitchen has earned a reputation for technical and professional capability. Those same qualities can be said to exist in Hunt’s work, whether he is working as a bandleader or not. Hunt’s solo album “From Your Heart and Your Soul” (BMI), is an example of the quality work the pianist can produce. For the promotional tour, Hunt organized a quintet comprised of Gregg Bendian, John Lockwood, Ole Mathisen, and Bruce Bartlett.

On his latest release, “Connections,” Hunt uses his connections with other musicians to create the music, but the music broaches the idea of how each of human being is connected to the universe.

“Now’s the Time” by Steve Hunt

The first song on the album, “Now’s the Time” is a sophisticated contribution of sounds. At just over seven and a half minutes long, “Now’s the Time” features Hunt on keyboards, Etienne Mbappe on bass, Nate Wood on drums, Tucker Antell on tenor sax, and Jorge Bezerra on percussion and vocals.

The music is almost ambient for the first few measures, but then a World Music type groove begins to grow from the keyboards that at first sound like something else, coupled with each instrument group as each works its way in and finds its place. The soundscape grows buoyant with deep bass, expressive horns and an array of percussion. The work is as danceable as it is innovative-sounding. A fantastic choice to kick off the album.

Steve Hunt’s “Connections”

Innovative percussion creates tension as the song opens. Hints of rock fusion show up in guitar and keyboard interchanges. Tenor sax and bass clarinet work together to form an argument that they can blare like horns. Their interjections are at times staccato and other times tense and brash. Cool moments arrive when the sax riffs over the guitar’s sophisticated “wah-wah.” The understated thunder of the drums prepares listeners to a decidedly rock-oriented groove that comes later. The smooth, barely tense moments of the beginning are gone. The bass comes to life and the clarinet and sax are either absent or absorbed. The energy increases and audiences can interpret that this is the sound of connections being made, one person at a time, until the universe if full of people knowing what part they play in the fusion of existence.

“Collections” sounds like an album serious jazz fans need to have. Hunt is a seasoned player who has made good use of his connections with other musicians to create soundscapes that are unforgettable and noticeably cool.

More about Hunt can be found at stevehuntjazzpiano.com. The album, “Connections” is available at fine retailers nationwide.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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