Kirk Knuffke Profiled

Source: Village Voice.

Jazz musicians still in their thirties and unbound by bebop ancestor worship, like the cornetist Kirk Knuffke and his loose circle of current and former Brooklynites (Mary Halvorson is the only one you’ve heard much about so far), don’t speak of playing standards anymore, even when that’s what they’re doing. They do “covers,” usually on concept albums or as entire concert programs. The material at hand might be Satie, Eighties pop, or a Methodist hymn — doesn’t matter, as long as the players fully immerse themselves in it. Jazz standards are a protected species, of course, and those by Monk and Ellington, in particular, still pass smoothly from generation to generation. But even when interpreting the canon, these intuitive postmodernists attempt to widen it — and to question how what’s already enshrined in it relates to them, instead of the other way around.