Knuffke Stacken Duo
- Jesse Stacken - piano
- Kirk Knuffke - cornet
Photo by Scott Fiedlander
About The Knuffke / Stacken Duet
I met Jesse is 2006 while playing with Jeff Davis and Michael Bates. He mentioned that he was practicing Thelonius Monk’s music. In Denver, before I moved to NYC, I had been playing duets of Monks music with pianist Geoff Cleveland. So,I approached Jesse about getting together as a duo to play Monk’s music and he agreed. Since then, our long standing duo has expanded to include other composers and projects.
Jesse and I have recorded Five CDs:
Jesse and I have recorded four CDs as a duo for Denmark’s esteemed SteepleChase record label and we have also recorded one trio CD where we are joined by the fabulous drummer Kenny Wollesen.
- The 1st CD "Mockingbird", focuses on the music of Thelonius Monk and Duke Ellington.
- The 2nd CD, "Orange Was The Color", is made up entirely of Charles Mingus compositions.
- The 3rd CD, "Like A Tree" is dedicated to a number of inspirational composers, with music by Carla Bley, Ornette Coleman, Misha Mengelberg and others. Joined by Kenny Wollesen on drums.
- The 4th CD "Five" isnt the 5th! Its named after the Bill Evans tune of that name, we focus souly on Bills music mixed with the music of Carla Bley
- Our 5th CD is due out in late 2016 early 2017, entitled "Satie" It contains our readings of some of Erik Saties works for solo piano, with Improvisations.
“Cornetist Kirk Knuffke and pianist Jesse Stacken last teamed up on records for a CD of Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington songs. On Orange Was The Color, they create fresh renditions of 11 Charles Mingus compositions. Mingus' music benefited from a wide range of tone colors, unusual dissonances and emotional playing, but the Knuffke- Stacken duet casts new light on his work by placing it in a very different context. While they hint at earlier versions, obviously their renditions are not as dense or complex as some of the originals. They picked out some of Mingus' more beautiful melodies (many from the 1957-58 period), and put their own feelings into the themes. Among the highlights are “Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love,” “Celia,” “Peggy's Blue Skylight,” “So Long Eric” and “Ecclusiastics.” This fine set, available from www.steeplechase.dk, is easily recommended.”