Steve Klink

Searching the Blue

Searching the blue. CD written and arranged by Steve Klink


When the mouse is placed over a track and it highlights, you can listen by clicking on it...
  1. Peri's Winkle Blues ii [... or see a video of this song performed by the trio]
  2. Starting Over iii
  3. Figurin' a Question iv
  4. Three Journies (Africa)
  5. The Gospel Truth
  6. Silently Searching
  7. St. Emmanuel Shout v
  8. Days Drift Slowly By
  9. Askin'
  10. Duke's Boots vi [... or see a video of this song performed by the trio]
  11. The Moon Rose.... vii
  12. Mayen Song [... or see a video of this song performed by the trio]
  13. A Minor Thing viii
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Steve Klink - Piano
Marcus Rieck - Drums
Henning Gailing & Volker Heinze i - Bass

All music and arrangements by Steve Klink

About "Searching the Blue", songwriting and Iowa Folk artists:
[click here for official Searching the Blue info]

In the Midwest of America where I grew up you can hear singer/songwriters in local bars and coffee shops everywhere, performing mostly solo, accompanying themselves on guitar. During my childhood in Iowa I heard singer/songwriters of all possible tastes and abilities. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing a great live performance of a well-written, freshly conceived song by a talented singer/songwriter. I always liked Greg Brown especially, and to hear him in duo with Bo Ramsey was just magical.

So try to imagine this new CD Searching the Blue as a singer/songwriter performance. Only instead of a one-man voice and guitar show it is performed by a classic "jazz" piano trio. There are folk songs, some blues songs but instead of rock 'n' roll there are some Bugaloos and Gospel Shouts, a little Bebop and plenty of swing. Each piece of music is more of a song than a composition. It tells a simple story, without words. Some songs are extremely simple but some are much longer with more complicated forms. But no matter how long a form becomes (for example, "A Minor Thing" or "Askin'") the basic building blocks are still single folky ideas.

This was the original idea behind Searching the Blue. This is why I like to call the music on this CD Folkbop and not Jazz.

More about "Searching the Blue"

Recorded at Topaz Studio in Cologne, Germany by Reinhard Kobialka

Record Company: DMG
Distributor: Broken Silence

Design by Zvone Kukec
Executive Producer/Production: Steve Klink


    i) Henning Gailing plays on tracks 1-12, Volker Heinze plays on track 13.
    ii) Peri's Winkle Blues recorded October 11th, 2002 live in Quasimodo Jazz Club, Berlin Tracks 2-12 recorded on May 19th and December 11th, 2003 in Topaz studio, Köln, mixed May 7th, 2004 and mastered February 7th, 2006 by Reinhard Kobialka.
    iii) Starting Over is a country fugue that develops into a blues.
    iv) Figurin' a Question is a 4-voice bass canon.
    v) St. Emmanuel Shout was written for the congregation of St. Immanuel Church in Cologne-Longerich where we have played every ascension day (Christi Himmelfahrt) for the last 10 years.
    vi) For Hartmut.
    vii) Also translated as: "...upward beyond the constant flow there was moondling. (Xul Solar translates it succinctly: upward, behind the onstreaming it mooned - Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones, 1962 Grove Press, English translation, page 23.)".
    viii) A Minor Thing recorded October 20th, 2005 live in Loft Jazz Club, Köln.

Folkbop and the Midwest Gospel Re-Soulution

"I really wanted to take the music back, all the way back, to my roots," said Steve Klink to a journalist recently in describing his long-awaited new CD, Searching the Blue. Since the success of Feels Like Home and Places... (instrumental tributes to singer/songwriter icons Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell respectively) and Blue Suit (recorded with drummer Gregory Hutchinson), "...I have always wanted to do an album of all-original material that describes me and the musical world I grew up in." This talented piano player/composer was raised in America's heartland and his deep emotion and passion for music can be felt in every note he plays. "The Midwest of the US is a special place. Off the beaten track, it does not feature the congested jazz scenes of America's big cities, rather, when I was growing up, it was about Folk Music, Blues and space."

Steve always knew that he would write music, and the wide-open plains of his youth created the pallette upon which he assimilated more and more influences. As a child he journied with his family across Eastern and Western Europe before he moved to Boston and then to New York. "No matter where I found myself, I was always collecting and listening to music, just writing more and more." As a student of jazz composition at The New England Conservatory in Boston, Steve felt a need to reduce and miniaturize, to get away from the modern idioms of mainstream jazz. "Although the music on this CD is mainly derived from the jazz tradition, the word 'jazz' has become too ambiguous a term for me. 'Jazz' can in different contexts mean everything today from pop to Neumusik. On Searching the Blue I like to call this music Folkbop because it is basically dealing with different kinds of American folk forms and has nothing to do with the more "intellectual" elements of jazz at all. Except perhaps for a bit of Bebop a la Bud Powell..."

Folkbop is then a blend of the folkier elements of the jazz tradition: Blues, Soul, Gospel and even Swing, together with Hardbop and Bebop. All this combined with the Folk music of the Midwest. "Guitar is for sure the basic American folk instrument. As a pianist playing with many different guitarists, I had to change the way I thought of the piano..." Wide-open voicings, spaced similarly to the open strings of a guitar, Steve's simple, transparent piano style and use of Folk/Country idioms is reminiscent of Ray Charles' sojourn into Country music. "In retrospect, growing up in Iowa was great. There were fantastic bands and artists like Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey and Big Wooden Radio. Nearby in Chicago there were Blues piano players like Sunnyland Slim. Bluegrass bands were passing through all the time on tour between the coasts. "

The diversity of original music on Searching the Blue is impressive. A delicious blend of down-home blues, luscious ballads, sizzling up-tempos, canons, fugues and gospel shouts, it represents the culmination of many years of hard work. "Each song is its own little musical world, concisely arranged, similar to the way a singer/songwriter would write each tune. Basically the piano trio, featuring Marcus Rieck on drums and Volker Heinze on contrabass, provides the foundation on which each world is built". So compositions like "Starting Over" begin as a country-fugue and develop into a blues march a la Gene Harris and the Three Sounds. "Figurin' a Question" is a contrabass-canon theme that develops first into a burning up-tempo blues and returns as a counter theme in "Askin' " as a country/gospel extended work of multiple forms. The CD also features some stellar live performances and opens with a bugaloo from the Quasimodo jazz club in Berlin, part of Minor Music's "Wir-Jazz Wunderkinder" tour.

In Europe the response to Steve's music has been tremendous. Germany's Der Spiegel wrote: "...most of all Steve inspires us with his energetic drive and his connection to Gospel and Blues: a totally enjoyable experience, not just for jazz fans!" Recently Steve's music was featured in a continent-wide broadcast of Europe's national radio stations sponsored by the European Broadcast Union.

Steve Klink's music is here to stay. Searching the Blue takes the listener on a journey across a romantic era of America's rich musical tradition and through the history of its folk forms.

Searching the Blue (DMG 54.218061.2)