Tightrope (Steve Khan album)

Last updated
Studio album by Steve Khan
Released 1977
Recorded March/April 1977 at Media Sound Inc, New York City, New York
Genre Jazz, Fusion
Label Tappan Zee Records (Columbia Records)
Producer Bob James
Steve Khan chronology
The Blue Man
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [1]

Tightrope is the 1977 debut solo album of jazz guitarist Steve Khan.

Steve Khan American musician

Steve Khan is an American jazz guitarist, known for his unique guitar voice, which brilliantly integrates angular single-note lines with chordal punctuations very much reminiscent of contemporary keyboard artists like McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea. Arriving in New York at the dawn of the '70s, he came to form a part of the '2nd Wave' of Fusion guitarists that included John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner, and later arrivals John Scofield and Bill Connors. Over the course of a long career, he is now recognized for his innovations in the world of Latin Jazz, while firmly establishing himself to many as "the voice of Latin Jazz guitar." He is also seen as one of the great interpreters of the compositions of Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman. His album covers are treasured by fans as they feature the beautiful artwork of Jean-Michel Folon, and more recently, Michel Granger.



Bob James who just got him signed to Columbia Records produced the album for his own Tappan Zee label, a sub-division of Columbia. [2] Bob James plays a then fashionable Oberheim polyphonic synthesizer. All other musicians were (at some point) members of the Brecker Brothers band including Kahn himself who was part of the band in the years just before his solo debut and was featured on their second album, the 1976 Back to Back and the following Don't Stop the Music. Kahn writes: "At the time, I suppose I felt it was my 'mission' to somehow maintain the original sound and line-up of the Brecker Bros. Band, only featuring my guitar a little more." [2] On his website he also states that Tightrope was his best-selling album he has "ever made, and is probably directly attributable to the inclusion of [...] "Darlin' Darlin' Baby," originally recorded by the O'Jays." [2]

Bob James (musician) smooth jazz keyboardist and composer

Robert McElhiney James is an American Grammy Award-winning jazz keyboardist, arranger, and record producer. He founded the band Fourplay and wrote "Angela," the theme song for the TV show Taxi. He is most famous for standards such as "Nautilus", "Westchester Lady", "Heads", "Night Crawler", "Touchdown", "Blue Lick", "Sign Of the Times", "Spunky", "Marco Polo", "Courtship" and "Just One Thing". Music from his first seven albums has often been sampled and has contributed to the formation of hip hop.

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Oberheim polyphonic

The Oberheim polyphonic is an analog music synthesizer that was produced from 1975 to 1979 by Oberheim Electronics. It was developed by Tom Oberheim, and was the first production synthesizer capable of playing chords.

Track listing

  1. "Some Punk Funk" – 5:20
  2. "Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet Tender Love)" (Gamble and Huff, Khan) – 6:29
  3. "Tightrope (for Folon)" – 5:44
  4. "The Big Ones" (Randy Brecker, Khan) – 6:02
  5. "Star Chamber" – 5:19
  6. "Soft Summer Breeze" (Eddie Heywood, Judy Spencer) – 5:00
  7. "Where Shadows Meet" – 3:40

All tunes written by Steve Khan except as noted parenthetically above. [1]
All arrangements by Steve Kahn, except tracks 2 and 6 arranged by Bob James.


David Spinozza is an American guitarist and producer. He worked with former Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon during the 1970s, and had a long collaboration with singer-songwriter James Taylor, producing Taylor's album Walking Man.

Don Grolnick was an American jazz pianist, composer, and record producer. He was a member of the groups Steps Ahead and Dreams, both with Michael Brecker, and played often with the Brecker Brothers. As a session musician, he recorded with Billy Cobham, Roberta Flack, Harry Chapin, Dave Holland, Bette Midler, Marcus Miller, Bob Mintzer, Linda Ronstadt, David Sanborn, Carly Simon, J. D. Souther, Steely Dan, and James Taylor.

Clavinet musical instrument

The clavinet is an electrically amplified clavichord that was invented by Ernst Zacharias and manufactured by the Hohner company of Trossingen, West Germany from 1964 to the early 1980s. Hohner produced seven models over the years, designated I, II, L, C, D6, E7 and Duo. Its distinctive bright staccato sound has featured most prominently in funk, jazz-funk, reggae, rock, and soul songs.


Chart (1978)Peakposition
US Billboard Pop Albums [3] 157
US Billboard Top Jazz Albums [3] 14
Discogs Website and crowdsourced database about audio recordings

Discogs is a website and crowdsourced database of information about audio recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc., and are located in Portland, Oregon, US. While the site lists releases in all genres and on all formats, it is especially known as the largest online database of electronic music releases, and of releases on vinyl media. Discogs currently contains over 10.6 million releases, by over 5.3 million artists, across over 1.1 million labels, contributed from over 443,000 contributor user accounts — with these figures constantly growing as users continually add previously unlisted releases to the site over time.

AllMusic online music database

AllMusic is an online music database. It catalogs more than 3 million album entries and 30 million tracks, as well as information on musical artists and bands. It launched in 1991, predating the World Wide Web.

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  1. 1 2 http://www.allmusic.com/album/tightrope-mw0000919537
  2. 1 2 3 Steve Kahn on his website about the album
  3. 1 2 "Steve Khan Tightrope Awards". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2016-05-20.