Mulgrew Miller: Live At Yoshi's, Volume One

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Mulgrew Miller: Live At Yoshi's, Volume One Gone are the days when a live recording would find the artist being drowned out by loud conversation or by microphones that are misplaced and under-valued. Just look at some of our treasured historical recordings of Bird and Diz, and from other pioneers such as Pops. Some of their early live sessions stood worlds apart from the superior sound later captured in the studio. MaxJazz in general, and Phil Edwards Recording in particular, have captured every nuance from Mulgrew Miller's performance last July in Oakland, California. Live at Yoshi's puts you there in the center section, third table from the left.

Miller?s itinerary places his trio in New York, Washington DC, and back at Yoshi?s in the coming months. If you're unable to make one of those appearances, well, then... this album fills the bill.

Adventurous and yet traditional, Miller has been influenced greatly by Oscar Peterson and McCoy Tyner. His technique is powerful; just right for hard-rolling bebop. Like Monk, he enjoys dissonant surprises and bubbly overtures. Having started his professional career with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under Mercer Ellington's leadership, Miller has great respect for the tradition of composed jazz that honors a specific idea or person. One look at his song listing for this session, and you get the idea. Tributes here have close connections to Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Tom Jobim, Woody Shaw, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington.

While the performance includes solos from bass and drums, it?s a pianist?s spotlight. Miller interprets with lyrical space when desired, and with passion when needed. Like Oscar Peterson, Miller is a master of the crisply flying keyboard. His phrases cascade up and down with expressive action in between.

Crisp and clean, Miller makes a mean machine. At times, however, a little more fire and emotion is needed. Monk-like dissonance works, up to a point. But Miller misses his chance when the temperature starts to rise. One example occurs a few minutes into ?What a Difference a Day Makes,? as the arrangement turns blue and the audience notices. The piece begins to swing with its blues mood, but Miller prefers to keep his distance. Instead of ?getting down? with his blues statement, the pianist comes out squeaky clean. Even a mournful, bowed bass solo can?t light the fires sufficiently.

Miller?s original ?Pressing the Issue? turns out much better. Here, and through much of the session, he explores up-tempo bebop with lengthy sections of piano counterpoint. Running from one end of the keyboard to the other, he wows the audience with neatly arranged, rapid-fire arpeggios and out-of- breath 16th-note swirls.

Track Listing: If I Were a Bell; Waltz for Monk; O Grande Amor; The Organ Grinder; Peace; Don't You Know I Care; What a Difference a Day Makes; Pressing the Issue.

Personnel: Mulgrew Miller- piano; Derrick Hodge- bass; Karriem Riggins- drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Pensamiento" CD/LP/Track Review Pensamiento
by James Nadal
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Never Group" CD/LP/Track Review Never Group
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 28, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!