Steffen Kuehn performed for and worked with The Platters, Marilyn McCoo, Bob Hope, John Handy, Mark Levine, John Fedchock, Chico Freeman, Tim Hagans, Ray Obiedo, Kenny Werner, Ray DeLa Paz, The Temptations, Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, The 4 Tops, Ray Sepulveda, Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, Lefty Perez to name a few. After his debut album Now Or Later (2002), Trumpop is Steffen's second release on his own label Stefrecords. Steffen was supported by producer Peter Horvath (Victor Bailey) who plays keyboards and synth bass on two tunes, and recording engineer Ray Obiedo (Herbie Hancock, George Duke)  who also performs his famous guitar on this ambitious album.

Further guest musicians are Nelson Braxton (bass), Brian Collier (drums), Karl Perazzo (percussion, Marty Wehner (trombone), Norbert Stachel (saxes), Jeff Cressman (trombone), Carla Helmbrecht, Kenny Washington, Claudia Villela, Larry Batiste and Sandy Griffith (vocals). Steffen mesmerizes the audience with his mute trumpet on the magic and melancholic Trumpop. The lead trumpet is accompanied by a horn section and additionally by Peter Horvath's keyboards. This title song was a theme in the Miramax movie ‘Birthday Girl’, starring Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin.

We are waiting for the spring in Germany. It's snowing in March and Spring Ain't Here. This song was originally recorded and written by Pat Metheney for his popular album Letter From Home (1989). This formidable album is packed with accessible tunes often played by smooth jazz radio stations. Steffen delivers a superb cover with a high appeal. Peter Horvath masters Lyle's part perfectly.

On Above The Fold Norbert Stachel (alto sax) and Jeff Cressman (trombone) join forces and create together with Steffen an excellent horn arrangement, sounds like Greg Adams' Tower Of Power or Tom Scott's Smoking Section. Peter's piano performance is the icing on the cake. Through The Fire was a major hit of Chaka Khan taken from her album I Feel For You in 1984. This song is ideal for Steffen because Chaka extensively uses horn-powered funk and keyboard tapestry on her albums. Steffen's cover is featuring singer Kenny Washington melting with Steffen's trumpet to a fantastic sound in the attitude of EWF.

Utopia underlines this impression. Friends of EWF and Herb Alpert will love this song, there are definitely reminiscences and influences. Norbert Stachel (alto sax) and Jeff Cressman (trombone) are a strong backbone of this horn formation. The romantic ballade For All The Things is featuring songstress Carla Helmbrecht, who also wrote the lyrics.  Carla is best known for her warm vocal styling in the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Her album Be Cool Be Kind (2001) received three Grammy nominations, two for Carla and one for Peter Horvath.

Blue In Green was recorded by Miles Davis for his ground-breaking album Kind of Blue (1959). Miles's elegant sometimes sustained style is predestined for an easy and appealing listening. Enticing for Steffen's sultry cover. The Bossa Nova ballade Sleepless Nights is featuring singer Claudia Villela. Claudia was born in Rio de Janeiro and is performing in the Bay Area since 1984. Her album Inverse Universe received high acclaims. Her warm vocals create the ideal ground for Steffen Kuehn brilliant trumpet solo.

The title The Sky Is The Limit suggest the endlessness of open air. And that is the way Steffen's melody line goes. Steffen's homage to New York City  NYC mirrors not a city of traffic and pulsing life as many other musicians interpret their impressions. No, there is a solid melancholy in the air. This mood reminds of the film noir of the 50's. I especially like the background of the horn-section. Superb Peter's solo in the style of Gary Burton.

Steffen Kuehn approach to record a smooth jazz album convinces. Steffen and the other musicians of this album are high-professional and the intention to entertain is fulfilled. Nevertheless Steffen doesn't deny his jazz roots and so this album has a quality other musicians have to strive for.



  • Bio
  • Steffen Kuehn's website
  • CD available
  • Album information:

    Title: Trumpop
    Artist: Steffen Kuehn
    Year: 2008
    Length: 0:46:09
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: stefrecords

    01 Trumpop [4:19]
    02 Spring Ain't Here [5:31]
    03 Above The Fold [4:10]
    04 Through The Fire [4:06]
    05 Utopia [3:52]
    06 For All The Things [5:14]
    07 Blue In Green [4:02]
    08 Sleepless Nights [5:34]
    09 The Sky Is The Limit [4:30]
    10 NYC [4:52]