Friday, December 5, 2014


Steve Koven
Bungalow Records
4 out of 5 stars

Being a pianist involves taking on a lot of roles.    One role would be the anchor of a ensemble providing rhythmic and harmonic support.    Another role would be anchoring a vocalist or a soloist to ensure they sound good and effective on stage.    There is a time that comes where the pianist has to do all those roles and both shine on one’s own as a solo performer.

In his 20+ year illustrious career, after putting out trio recordings, leading various projects in the city and working with a vocalist, Steve Koven reflects on his career in a different way by performing a solo recital of 12 compositions that draws upon his varied influences in jazz, classical, gospel, folk and latin music styles.

As a pianist and composer, Mr. Koven has a sheer knack of producing melodic and concise melodies that could be well suited for film music or a perfect soundtrack to a hectic day at work for relaxation.    His playing and compositions echoes feelings of joy, rememberance, melancholy and romanticism while staying true to both his art and craft as a searching, improvising musician.

I give kudos to Mr. Koven for putting out a unique project that is original, creative, reflective and celebratory of his achievements over the years that he has been a musician.    For a solo piano record, it’s an effective break from the usual standard repertoire and thus casts a light on other aspects of solo piano music that has not been encountered before.   “Solo Retrospective” is a moving musical journey which brings concise beauty into each performance and leaves the listener craving for more upon listening.


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