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George Kahn | Cover Up!

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Jazz: West Coast Jazz Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Cover Up!

by George Kahn

West coast jazz pianist George Kahn tackles jazz versions of songs he loves by Pink Floyd, Cream, John Mayer, The Beatles and others
Genre: Jazz: West Coast Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sunshine of Your Love
5:39 $0.99
2. Wes' Coast
5:21 $0.99
3. Mr. K. V.
3:48 $0.99
4. Use Me
4:51 $0.99
5. Eleanor Rigby
5:26 $0.99
6. Mitchell's Blues
6:42 $0.99
7. Cover Up!
6:51 $0.99
8. Yesterday/Yesterdays
6:28 $0.99
9. Comfortably Numb
6:04 $0.99
10. Waiting on the World to Change
3:54 $0.99
11. My Favorite Things
7:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
West Coast Jazz?

There is a fair amount of confusion about the meaning of “West Coast Jazz.” Some argue that the term refers to jazz recorded on the west coast from Los Angeles up to San Francisco. Others say that West Coast Jazz refers to a certain sound rather than to a location. Some go so far to call it a “brand” created by West Coast record companies.

I envision West Coast Jazz as an attitude, a feeling, a “vibe” that could only have originated in a place filled with palm trees, open horizons, ocean breezes — and urbanity. It was an answer to the left turn that took place when the Big Bands died out and jazz starting chasing the Bird down the bebop trail.

I hope you enjoy our latest foray into West Coast Jazz as much as we enjoyed creating it.

track notes:
George Kahn on piano, Brian Bromberg on bass, and Alex Acuna on drums and percussion. Additional musicians are noted below.

1) Sunshine of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton)
I wanted to do jazz versions of the songs I grew up with rather than the usual jazz “standards.” To pull off a song like this it needs to be cool AND hip or it will sound like a bad lounge band. Brian and Alex really got the feel I was looking for!

2) Wes’ Coast (Kahn)
Pat Kelley: guitar, John Fumo: trumpet
This song is a tribute to Wes Montgomery — it is my idea of a song that might have been written for a dream recording session if Wes had recorded with the Miles Davis quartet circa 1962

3) Mr. K. V. (Kahn)
This 12-bar blues swings right out of the gate. Like Coltrane’s Mr. P. C., it’s named after a bass player, the wonderful Mr. Karl Vincent. To keep us on our toes, the chord progression and the key keep changing as we move along.

4) Use Me (Bill Withers)
Courtney Lemmon: vocals, Justo Almario: sax, John Fumo: trumpet
This song got me through the summer of 1972, when I was commuting to Queens to work at my Dad’s sheet metal plant. I just jazzed it up a bit, and Courtney sings her little a— off!

5) Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney)
The Beatles’ timeless music has often been drawn upon by West Coast Jazz artists and classical composers. My 14-year-old son discovered the Beatles big time this year with the release of “Across The Universe.” This one is for Evan!

6) Mitchell’s Blues (Kahn)
Justo Almario: sax, John Fumo: trumpet
Originally part of the front line for Horace Silver, along with Junior Cook, Blue Mitchell is one of the unsung trumpet players in jazz. I can imagine Blue and Junior playing a song like this, night after night, as they spent weeks on end crossing the country playing the jazz club circuit.

7) Cover Up! (Kahn)
Justo Almario: sax, Pat Kelley: guitar
This is my nod to the contemporary Miles Davis, bold and ballsy. The song has a loose swagger that Miles would enjoy.

8) Yesterday/Yesterdays
I have played a version of this medley ever since my first club date. For this recording Brian had the great idea of taking the two songs and mashing them up so that we bounce from one to the other during the solos.

9) Comfortably Numb (D. Gilmour, R. Waters) Another one of my favorite bands, Pink Floyd has always written songs that are canvasses artists can draw on. I relate to the lyrics, having been comfortably numb often over the years….

10) Waiting on the World to Change (John Mayer)
This gospel arrangement of John Mayer’s song resonated the first time I played it. I felt a need to record this song, having lived through the Vietnam War, as well as five years of Iraq. Mission accomplished, indeed!

11) My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein)
Justo Almario: sax, John Fumo: flugelhorn, Alex Acuna: conga solo
A chestnut that was perfect to record with Alex and Justo in the band. Far from Coltrane’s version, it is more as if Julie Andrews walked into an Afro-Cuban jazz club.



to write a review

Katherine Todd

Cover Up
It is great. I thoroughly enjoy it and play it often on my computer. It is about to go in my car.

Ralph Guggenheim

What a Great Album!
What a great album! George Kahn continues to amaze me with each of
his releases, with great compositions and arrangements, terrific piano
work, but never overpowering his collaborators. "Comfortably Numb"
alone is worth the price of the CD. George adds new layers of meaning
in his interpretation.


All About Jazz Review by Jay Deshpande
In the liner notes to Cover Up!, George Kahn discusses his goal of drawing upon the heritage of west coast jazz. For most people, this brings to mind Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, or the Lighthouse All Stars.

For Kahn, though, it means a particular way of portraying the popular songs of his youth—tunes that fall outside the normal purview of jazz. On this disc, he provides graceful renditions of Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, John Mayer, and Bill Withers. Hence, as jazz updates of rock covers, Cover Up! is a coherent project.

In spite of the title's other potential meaning, everything on Kahn's album is perfectly overt. This is perhaps its greatest link to west coast jazz, which moved away from the intellectualism of New York bebop—Dizzy Gillespie is largely responsible for the field of jazz education, and Charlie Parker absorbed Stravinsky in addition to the blues.

Whether it's Bill Withers' "Use Me," which he plays according to the original recording, or the jazz standard "Yesterdays," which he spins unexpectedly out of the melody of the John Lennon's "Yesterday," Kahn presents music not as a set of cerebral enigmas, but as something fun for both the listener and the player. In this sense, he touches on the visceral pleasure that is usually connected to rock more than jazz.

The playing, very much in the jazz idiom, is strong throughout. Kahn surrounds himself with other highly competent Los Angeles musicians. The most stand-out name on the set is Alex Acuna, formerly the percussionist for Weather Report. The finest playing, though, comes from bassist Brian Bromberg, who acquits himself as nicely on the bass-heavy 70s sound of "Use Me" as he does in an eloquent high-register solo on "Sunshine of Your Love."

In improvisation, Kahn's tendency is towards modal playing, which doesn't wholly fit with the traditions of west coast jazz. On "Sunshine of Your Love," "Wes' Coast," and a John Coltrane-style "My Favorite Things," he draws heavily from the language of Miles Davis circa Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959). "Wes' Coast," which Kahn explains as Wes Montgomery meets Miles Davis, draws equal parts from Davis' compositions "Milestones" and "So What." Although an excess of modal jazz can turn to an easy conceit, playing at length over such scales suits Kahn's voice: it is here that he sounds most urbane.

The strength of Cover Up! lies in its careful balance of originals, standards, and pop covers. With little alteration to the original recording, John Mayer's "Waiting On The World to Change" becomes a tasteful gospel appeal in the pianist's hands. But just as inspiring is the latin-beat "Mitchell's Blues," a wonderful, lively composition by Kahn, with great horn-work from Justo Almario and John Fumo. Throughout the album, Kahn uses breadth and accessibility to keep the listener thoroughly entertained.