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Kent Miller: Minor Step

Mike Jurkovic By

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What you hear immediately from bassist Kent Miller's quartet is their fluency and propulsive, surely satisfying, button poppin,' finger-snappin' swing with both originals and standards that holds up extremely well with repeated listenings.

I could go on and on about solos great and small and how each of these guys give, take, and stamp their signature talents on each turn, but "Minor Step" is all about ensemble playing. So Hank Mobley's rocket fueled "Work Out" and Paul Chambers' serpentine "Visitation" set the stage for the brazen, hard rolling "Minor Step." A Miller original and the disc's namesake tune, this Trane-centric jam finds saxophonist Benny Russell blowing high and free on the soprano, while his mates, bassist Miller, acrobatic pianist Darius Scott and tireless drummer Greg Holloway roll and crest behind him.

A standardized "My Foolish Heart" follows this frenzy but it seems oddly out of place, like the quartet has to prove they can do the hard and the soft, the smooth and the bop. But they needn't be troubled by such misgivings, because every track which follows, the fanciful dance of percussion and bass on Parker's "My Little Suede Shoes," a fierce and fiery urgency powers Coltrane's "Liberia," sheer blowouts of Wes Montgomery's "SOS," another Parker "Dexterity" and Darius Scott's Monki-ish "T'Sup Cuz" just take this disc to extended heights.

Track Listing: Work Out; Visitation; Minor Step; My Foolish Heart; My Little Suede Shoes; SOS; Dexterity; Liberia; T'Sup Cuz; Sisters; Brother Ray.

Personnel: Kent Miller: bass; Benny Russell: tenor & soprano sax; Greg Holloway: drums; Darius Scott: piano.

Title: Minor Step | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: TNEKJazz

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