Steve Khan was born on April 28, 1947 in Los Angeles, California. He is a great guitar player who initially ended up being famous for his rock-jazz fusion playing. Steve is however quite well-rounded with numerous of his projects fitting more into the tough to categorize arena of post-bop. The son of song lyricist Sammy Cahn, he studied piano for 7 years starting when he was 5 as well as played drums with the instrumental guitar surf music group The Chantays who had the hit song "Pipeline" in the early 1960s.
Jazz was constantly around in Steve Khan's home since his father liked to hear recordings of any and all versions of his own hit songs. Khan remembers when Bob Spickard, The Chantays 'lead guitar player, introduced him to The Jazz Crusaders' "Tough Talk" and Wes Montgomery's "Boss Guitar" albums. It was years later, when he purchased Wes Montgomery's "Movin 'Wes" recording and heard "Caravan" that he knew he would never be a drummer who could play on the level of Grady Tate!
At the age of 17 Steve Khan changed over to guitar and was quickly playing gigs in the Los Angeles area. Through an unexpected set of conditions and his working with the R & B group The Friends Of Distinction he wound up playing and recording with keyboardist Phil Moore, Jr. That led him to playing on Wilton Felder's solo LP, "Bullitt". Steve could not believe that he was doing something with one of the members of The Jazz Crusaders whom he so admired.
Steve Khan graduated from UCLA in 1969 with a BA in composition and theory. His father aimed to direct him away from the possible disappointment of artistic mediocrity and toward a life as a lawyer. However of course, Steve didn't and wouldn't listen to any of that. After having performed with vibraphonist David Friedman and bassist John Miller while on a gig with Tim Buckley, Khan was invited to come to New York during the summer of 1969 and perform live for a few weeks at The Music Inn. He soon moved there for good.
A member of The Brecker Brothers by 1971, Steve Khan starting performing acoustic guitar duets with Larry Coryell between 1974 – 1975. Bob James and Bobby Colomby signed him to Columbia Records in 1977 which provided Steve the chance to shine as a solo artist when no one else seemed to be interested in hearing him play. On his first recordings as a leader including "Tightrope", "The Blue Man", and "Arrows", Steve was aiming to single-handedly keep alive the sound of the original Brecker Brothers Band.
It is fascinating to keep in mind that at one point in time during the 1970s, in or near the Chelsea region of Manhattan, the following famous guitarists who were all good friends lived within a few blocks of each other: John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, Bill Connors, John Scofield, and Steve Khan. What a wonderful situation that must have been for jazz guitar music lovers living in that area at the time!
Ever since then, Steve Khan has gone on to record a solo guitar album called "Evidence" highlighted by a prolonged Thelonious Monk medley, founded and performed with the quartet Eyewitness throughout 1981 – 1985, performed live with Joe Zawinul's Weather Update in 1986, worked with a variety of trios including Ron Carter and Al Foster during 1991 – 1992, and played with Dave Samuel's Caribbean Jazz Project during 1999 – 2002. Steve has also appeared as a guest guitar player on lots of other dates with everybody from Miles Davis to Gil Evans and Freddie Hubbard in addition to leading his own bands.