242

Mulgrew Miller: Live at the Kennedy Center Volume 2

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Mulgrew Miller was once opined as being one of the most underrated pianists in jazz, belonging to a middle generation of musicians between the 1950s-'60s masters and the "young lions of the 1990s. Proving patience is a virtue and there is something to be said for simply doing one's job consistently (citing Cal Ripkin, Jr.) Miller is in the midst of making the finest music of his distinguished career. Live at the Kennedy Center Volume 2 completes Miller's inauguration of the KC Jazz Club atop Washington, DC's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, following Live at the Kennedy Center Volume 1 (MaxJazz, 2006).

Miller's Kennedy Center recordings come on the heels of another two-disc live set— Live at Yoshi's Volume 1 (MaxJazz, 2004) and Volume 2 (MaxJazz, 2005)—which complement those of Jessica Williams' Live at Yoshi's Volume 1 (MaxJazz, 2004) and Volume 2 (MaxJazz, 2005). All are trio formats that allow the listener to hear Mulgrew Miller as a pianist with a rare command of his instrument.

Volume 2 picks up where Volume 1 leaves off, basically staying in an up-tempo mode and demonstrating Miller's intelligent compositions. Miller mixes things up on "Song for Darnell, beginning in a melodically minimalist manner before transforming into an assertive ballad whose swing coefficient goes off the chart with several 4/4 breaks where Miller plays his piano like a bulldozer leveling a lot. "'Grew's Tune is structured staccato romp that recalls much of the late Gene Harris' playing. Miller's double-stops are fun and exciting, accenting the piece with a drama that extends to Derrick Hodge's bass solo.

"Farewell to Dogma teases the listener with gospel chords and phrasing that draw the expectant listener in, thinking Miller is about to embark on a soul jazz extravaganza. Miller, all the while, is deconstructing that same soul jazz into its individual elements, exploring each with care and completeness: A style palette, if you will. "Eleventh Hour is much the same way. It is five minutes of boogie-blues and the rest proto-hard bop. Mulgrew Miller proves a master at compelling jazz, drawing listeners close and then surprising them. That is the fun of jazz.

Track Listing: Grew's Tune; Old Folks; Song for Darnell; Farewell to Dogma; Eleventh Hour.

Personnel: Mulgrew Miller: piano; Derrick Hodge: double bass; Rodney Green: drums.

Title: Live at the Kennedy Center Volume 2 | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019
Read Let's Play Album Reviews
Let's Play
By Don Phipps
June 19, 2019
Read Hidden Corners Album Reviews
Hidden Corners
By Dan McClenaghan
June 18, 2019
Read Special Album Reviews
Special
By Jakob Baekgaard
June 18, 2019
Read Land Of Real Men Album Reviews
Land Of Real Men
By Friedrich Kunzmann
June 18, 2019