Mulgrew Miller is one of the unsung heroes of jazz. The veteran pianist, who turns fifty this month, has played in the bands of major figures like Betty Carter, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, and Tony Williams and has more than four hundred recording credits to his name. Though respected as a dependable, first-call sideman, he's only recently been getting the attention he deserves as a leader, thanks to a series of excellent releases on the MaxJazz label. That welcome trend should continue with his latest, a followup to last year's well-regarded trio outing recorded live at Yoshi's in Oakland.
A muscular, bluesy post bop player in the McCoy Tyner mode, Miller leads his talented young rhythm section (bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Karriem Riggins) with energy and urgency on a nicely varied 72-minute set. Highlights include a boisterous romp through Victor Feldman's "Joshua, a funky take on the standard "Comes Love, and a haunting solo piano rendition of Rodgers and Hart's "It's Easy to Remember. As a tribute to two of his late mentors, Miller offers hard-driving versions of drummer Tony Williams' "Citadel and pianist James Williams' "Road Life.
Always steady and at times dazzling, Mulgrew Miller again makes the case that he belongs in the upper echelon of mainstream jazz pianists. This is another strong effort from a compelling artist deserving wider acclaim.
Track Listing: Joshua; Comes Love; Road Life; It's Easy to Remember; One's Own Room; Little Girl Blue;
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.